A high school player in the Cleveland area was one of the first prep players to join Colin Kaepernick in silent protest during the national anthem after he overheard teammates using racial slurs in the locker room.
“I didn’t show up to the game thinking that I would kneel for the national anthem,” Brunswick High’s Rodney Axson told the New York Daily News.
Regardless, Axson says he has experienced quite the backlash, from racist messages online to verbal assaults from teammates to a note that called for lynching.
“I thought moving to a community like Brunswick will be safe to keep away from the gun violence and then you have to come out here and deal with the racial thing,” Axson’s father told Cleveland19.
The family says they feel that the reaction from the coaching staff has further alienated Axson. The school district is investigating.
Below is the full statement from the district’s superintendent, via NYDN:
We are still investigating various incidents of inappropriate and racially motivated conduct by students at Brunswick High School. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement as well. As such, we will not comment further until such time as we have a reasonable grasp on all the facts.
“However, let me say that a statement which has circulated on social media connected with this investigation is reprehensible and I am deeply disappointed that any of our students would participate in its publication. Racial slurs and hate speech have no place in the Brunswick schools and those found complicit in such misconduct will be dealt with accordingly. This is a statement I have never even conceived that I might need to release. I am saddened to have to do so.