Winooski student-athletes allegedly targeted with racial slurs during soccer game

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) - A high school soccer game is now the focus of an investigation over racist behavior after Winooski High School players say they had slurs directed at them by opposing players and fans.

The Winooski superintendent is calling out three players on the Enosburg High School soccer team and spectators for what he’s calling “abhorrent, violent, racist language” toward students of color on the Winooski team. And he says this is not the first time this has happened.

The Winooski boys soccer team celebrated a goal in its game on Wednesday, a team filled with new Americans and students of color finding success on the field. But just days earlier these same players came under verbal assault in another game, against Enosburg Falls High School.

Winooski Superintendent Sean McMannon issued a lengthy statement in which he claims Enosburg players and fans directed racial slurs and Winooski players including the “N-word,” “monkey“ and “terrorist.”

McMannon also says the referee ignored reports from the players that they were being racially abused and kicked and elbowed off the ball.

In a statement, McMannon said, in part: “This continued racial violence against Winooski student-athletes makes me sick to my stomach, boils my blood, and needs to stop. It dehumanizes and perpetuates a ‘lesser than’ attitude toward our students who are some of the most talented, intelligent, and resilient human beings I have ever known.”

The superintendent of the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union responded to the reports of the allegations saying the district condemns racism and violence in all forms. The statement reads, in part: “It has been reported that our students may have used racial slurs during a very physical soccer game at Winooski over the weekend. We are currently investigating the allegations around our students’ conduct. If there were racial slurs used, we will take appropriate disciplinary action and provide targeted educational intervention.”

The Vermont Principals Association acknowledged Friday that it is aware of the allegations and is investigating.

McMannon is also calling for the VPA to implement robust antiracism training for middle and high school sports officials and coaches.

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