Central Falls (Rhode Island) volleyball coach Richard Sousa alleges that his team heard racist comments, including “Go back to your country” from the Burrillville (Rhode Island) student section during a match.
Sousa claims that his team heard a version of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” but sung with the lyrics “it’s getting dark in here,” the Providence Journal reported.
Most players on the Central Falls’ volleyball team are not white, according to the outlet.
A parent of one of the Central Falls players also said she heard racial taunts. Maria Pedraza, claimed she heard the phrase, “Go back to your country.” She also claimed that, after Burrillville scored a point, a boy yelled out, “That’s how we do it in America.” Sousa said that students sang the national anthem in the middle the match.
Sousa told the Providence Journal that while he loves the country and anthem, there was a “hidden message” in the singing of the anthem at that particular time.
“It was the hidden messages that were there that you can’t turn your cheek to,” he said to the outlet. “You can’t not speak up about it.”
Burrillville School Superintendent Michael Sollitto told the Providence Journal that students chose the theme of red, white and blue for sporting events this week.
He added that the school is conducting an investigation and people who made comments that were racist or intimidating would be dealt with “severely and swiftly.”