CINCINNATI — An Ohio basketball team has been kicked out of a youth recreational league for wearing racist jerseys after photos began circulating on social media.
Parent Tony Rue posted the images on his Facebook page Sunday after attending a game where the Ohio team was playing.
“A Rec league or not, please explain how this is even remotely considered appropriate for a high school basketball game. From a team name referencing sexual conduct to offensive and racist nicknames,” Rue wrote on Facebook.
The controversial pictures quickly became the hot topic of the day and made their way to national radio shows and local television news.
According to WXIX Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League officials shut down the game and said they have dismissed the team from the league, but parents are left wondering how the team managed to play four weeks into the season before the jerseys were reported.
Charrise Middleton, the coordinator for Kings Rec Basketball 7-12, told WXIX:
“When I learned of the uniform infractions last night the team involved was immediately removed from the league and will not be returning to play this season. Kings Rec Basketball for grades 7-12 does not in any way support or condone the uniform infractions that occurred. We strictly follow and support the rules set out by CPYBL and fully support their decision to remove the team from play as well.”
Middleton also provided a statement on behalf of the team’s coach Walt Gill:
“We sincerely apologize to anyone that was offended by the jerseys. We offered to cover them up or change, however, the league saw fit to remove us and we have accepted that decision.”
The students tried to suggest the racial slurs were not racial at all, just a play on their names. One student whose last name is Kuhn said the word Coon was just a way to have fun with his name, but the school district and basketball league are not buying it.
A spokesperson for the Kings Local School District said she cannot discuss whether any students will be disciplined due to privacy laws and said the team is in no way associated with the school district. She issued the following statement to WXIX:
“Today we became aware of inappropriate conduct from a team of students participating in a recreational basketball league that is not affiliated with the Kings Local School District. This team has been restricted from any further use of district facilities. Kings Local Schools strongly condemns any type of hateful and racist commentary. This behavior is in no way welcome or tolerated in our schools and community.”