The owner of a since-deleted Instagram account which set off a firestorm over a racist caption of an image reportedly blamed the entire incident on a jilted ex-boyfriend who stole her phone and re-posted the old image with the offensive captain as a measure of revenge.
As noted by the Miami Herald, another Twitter and Instagram user from Midland, Mich., where Ashton Brooks stars as a kicker for Dow High, posted a Twitter message in reply to the Tweet sent by New York Daily News writer Shaun King that included the screen shot image of a former Midland High student who posted a picture of herself with Midland’s gorilla mascot and compared the ape to Brooks. The fellow student’s Tweet included a screen shot of a Twitter message thread between herself and the since deleted social media user who posted the photo. When asked why she posted the image with the corresponding offensive caption, the former Midland student said that the entire episode was the work of a jilted ex-boyfriend:
Obviously, it’s impossible to know the veracity of the claims made by the social media user who has since deleted both her Instagram and Twitter accounts. USA TODAY High School Sports has chosen not to publish the college student’s name, but the now Michigan State student had others identify her and report her social media actions to the sorority which she had pledge to, with the sorority reportedly withdrawing her invitation as a result, according to this Twitter exchange between Delta Gamma sorority and a Twitter user who reached out to them concerned by the Michigan State student’s actions.
As for Brooks, the town of Midland has continued to rally behind the star kicker, who remains much more than a kicker, and a vital part of Dow’s success, on the field and off.
For its part, Midland Public Schools Superintendent Michael E. Sharrow roundly disavowed the post in a statement to USA TODAY Sports Tuesday, saying Midland Public Schools is “sickened by the social media post and feel awful for Ashton and her family.”
“The Board, Superintendent and High School Administrators have thoroughly investigated this incident,” the statement continued. “The girl who posted the photo and caption is a former MPS student. She last attended MPS in the 2014-15 school year and now college age. We are equally offended and upset that our Schools and Community have been connected to her comments in this matter. The comments made do not reflect the beliefs of our District or Schools in any way.”
“During the investigation it was evident that the student in the costume was surprised to learn that this post had been made. He was shocked that some people thought that he was complicit in staging the photo. We believe that based on what we have learned, he was unaware of the post being made and specifically did not know about the girl’s comments until we addressed it with him” …
“Midland Public Schools will continue to track this information. We will condemn this type of racism and misuse of social media within our Schools, District and Community.”