An Ohio high school football game was the site of a locker room incident that one school feels was racially motivated. Officials are now trying to determine if there is anything in that claim.
As reported by the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal, Mansfield High School’s game at Ashland High School saw the Mansfield team arrive to a locker room with bananas left throughout. When the team then arrived on to the field, they were reportedly had bananas thrown at them with another person in the stands dressed as a banana.
Mansfield is a school with a majority African-American population and told the Richland Source that his players were upset by the bananas in the stadium.
“There were a lot of kids, black and white, who were hurt, whose feelings were hurt, and some of our kids shed real tears,” Mansfield coach Chioke Bradley told the Richland Source. “I take great offense at anything that causes kids heartache and pain.
“I just don’t understand in today’s day and age, 2018, why there would be bananas left in a locker room with a predominately African-American football program coming in. Why not tell us beforehand? Don’t wait until afterward when everything has unfolded.
“It may have been in good faith. It happened though. Our kids walked into it. It’s easy to say after it’s over and done with that they didn’t do anything deliberately. … It is what it is. I hope it doesn’t get twisted up and turned around in no way. I am a Mansfield Senior graduate. I am African-American. I love all my kids, regardless of their color. Every one of those kids, regardless of their color, their feelings were hurt and they played with a chip on their shoulder.”
For their part, the Ashland administration said the incident was a simple misunderstanding that emerged from a longstanding tradition by the school’s cross country team. You can read the full statement from Ashland athletic director Jason Goings below:
Is the Ashland athletic department to be believed, or was there something more sinister behind the fruit left behind in the Mansfield locker room? Only those who left the fruit knows for sure, and none of them are speaking on the record … yet.