The Ames (Iowa) football team returned from its road game Friday night to find a racist message on a dry erase board in its locker room, Ames school and police officials confirmed to the Register.
The school district and police are investigating the incident, which followed the Little Cyclones’ season-ending loss to West Des Moines Dowling Catholic at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.
A message written on a whiteboard in the locker room used profanity and a racial epithet, including the words “f—” and “n—–,” according to school and police officials.
“It’s unacceptable, and it’s not going to be tolerated,” Ames Superintendent Tim Taylor said.
The school’s resource officer is investigating to determine whether the incident amounts to criminal activity. Ames police Commander Geoff Huff, the department’s public information officer, said the action would not be considered a hate crime, specifically, because it doesn’t target an individual.
The incident is the latest in a number of race-related events linked to Iowa high school football this fall:
- In September, five Creston/Orient-Macksburg football players were kicked off the team after a photo of them wearing white hoods and posing by a burning cross emerged on social media. The story made national news.
- Earlier this month, a football player at Clear Creek-Amana of Tiffin was targeted by a racist Snapchat post. Darius Moore, a senior, was criticized in a profanity-laced post for his decision to kneel during the national anthem. The post included a photo of Moore during one of his team’s games.
- On Oct. 13, 13 members of Ames High School’s marching band walked off the field before playing the national anthem at the team’s home game against Des Moines Lincoln. Members of the band said the protest was a way of “taking a stand against racial prejudice,” according to one of the students.
The school is offering support to students, including counseling, Taylor said. A statement about the incident has been sent to parents of students.
Officials are reviewing video to determine whether anyone connected to the incident can be identified.
“This is concerning to us,” Huff said. “It makes people very uncomfortable, as it should.”
Ames High School, which has an enrollment of about 1,500 students, is one of the state’s most diverse schools. Approximately 25 percent of students are racial or ethnic minorities.