Va. middle school football team forfeits season after racially insensitive locker room video

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A middle school football team in Virginia is forfeiting the remainder of its season in the aftermath of an explicit video shot in the school’s locker room.

The Short Pump Middle School (Glen Allen, Va.) football team will forfeit the rest of its games, although practices will continue. The school board addressed a message to the Henrico County schools community Friday announcing the decision.

As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the letter reads that a mandatory part of the practices will be discussions about “reporting responsibilities, accountability, ethics, sexual harassment, and racial tolerance.”

“As a consequence of the students’ actions that came to the school’s attention on Monday, the remaining football games for the SPMS football team will be forfeited,” the message reads. “We acknowledge that all team members were not involved in the incident; however, we believe there are important lessons/reminders that should be reinforced with all team members.”

The video in question, which was posted on Snapchat, showed black students being straddled by their peers with racially charged language over the footage. Per the Times-Dispatch, police were made aware of the video Tuesday and have been investigating the incident.

The Short Pump Middle School football team had one regular-season game and two postseason games left, Henrico schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Times-Dispatch.

Henrico NAACP President Frank J. Thornton commended the school board’s decision, but sees a deeper issue at play.

“You can’t just sugar-coat,” Thornton said. “You need a group who really knows what they’re doing.”

April Sullivan, a parent of a child at Short Pump Middle, called the response “a first step” in speaking with the Times-Dispatch, but said more was needed “to address the systemic class and race issues that exist in society in general and Henrico County in particular.”

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