An incident of disturbing fan misbehavior in Michigan is proving that racist fan behavior can run deep, below the varsity level.
As reported by Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV, the freshman football team from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor played at Bedford on Thursday and one of the Skyline Eagles players was reportedly subjected to racist abuse from fans in the Bedford stands.
The player in question is 14-year-old Tyshon Ruggles (whose mother, Sarah Ruggles, happens to be white). During the teams’ game, Ruggles said he was called the n-word by opposing fans, who also held Confederate flags as a way to try and intimidate the wide receiver/defensive back/kicker.
“I think it’s just sad that kids of this age already have this much hate in them and they’re taking it out in this manner,” Sarah Ruggles, Tyshon’s mother, told WDIV. “(Tyshon) said he’s not ever wanting to go back to that area, period, just based off his experience yesterday.”
The Ann Arbor School District wasted little time issuing an official response to the incident, with Superintendent Jeanice Swift offering a strong rebuke of the incident in question.
“We are very concerned and terribly disappointed today to hear reports of racial slurs and other displays of disrespect that occurred last evening. Today we are taking a stand for our Skyline students, especially those who were impacted by this incident.”
According to WDVI, Bedford launched an investigation into the incident as soon as it was reported to try to get to the bottom of the accuracy of Ruggles’ claims and how they were able to occur at an official school event.
As it stands, this isn’t the first incident to draw official attention at Bedford during football season, either. As reported here at USA Today High School Sports, earlier in the fall a vandal broke into Bedford’s stadium and burned the image of a male genitalia on the football field with copious amounts of weed killer.
Those incidents are extremely unlikely to be connected as charges have already been brought against the alleged perpetrators of the field burning. Whether justice proves as swift in this case remains to be seen.