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Winooski rallies in support of soccer team after allegations of racial slurs

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 7:09 PM EDT
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WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) - People in Winooski on Tuesday filled the stands in support of the Winooski boys soccer team after allegations emerged of racial slurs being hurled at them during a game.

People walked into the Winooski High School game holding signs against racism and in support of the Winooski boys varsity team.

Last Friday, the Winooski superintendent accused three members of the Enosburg team and their fans of directing racist slurs at Winooski players.

Superintendent Sean McMannon also said it’s not the first time it happened.

The Vermont Principals’ Association, which oversees high school athletics, is not investigating the racist allegations. But the Enosburg School District is, per VPA protocols, and says they are looking at the behavior of their own players and fans.

At Winooski, they are focusing on making sure the team feels supported and knows the community is behind them.

“They’ve been through a lot and I think it’s important to not feel alone and to feel different and separate for something that, you know, you can be proud of, you know your heritage. It’s important that they know that we’re here, that we love them and we support them and embrace them,” said Elizabeth Wood, a Winooski teacher.

People in Winooski on Tuesday filled the stands in support of the Winooski boys soccer team...
People in Winooski on Tuesday filled the stands in support of the Winooski boys soccer team after allegations emerged of racial slurs being hurled at them during a game.(WCAX)

Winooski’s superintendent says racial and physical abuse during the game was reported to a referee. But the VPA says the head referee was not aware of this and maintains that no allegations were reported to the referee by Winooski players or coaches.

Both school superintendents acknowledge the game was very physical, and now there is an investigation into physical abuse.

The Vermont Principals Association received video of a Winooski player head-butting another player on the field during the game.

I have seen that video. We do not have permission to show it to you but it shows a Winooski player head-butting an Enosburg player after that Enosburg player attempted to kick another Winooski player.

The VPA had a hearing Tuesday with the Winooski player in front of their activity standards committee which will make a decision about any consequences for that player.

The VPA says they could determine the time the student has already been suspended from games suffices or even that the player could be suspended for a year or longer. But we will not know the outcome because that decision is not made public.

So why is the VPA investigating the head-butting but leaving it up to Enosburg to investigate their own when it comes to these racial slur allegations? Per VPA protocol the schools do the investigating.

If there was video of any racial incidents, the VPA says it would be dealt with swiftly and if anyone has any proof also to send it to the VPA.

They did release a statement Tuesday condemning any racist actions and they are developing a reporting system for any racially related incidents at any high school sporting events in Vermont.

People in Winooski on Tuesday filled the stands in support of the Winooski boys soccer team...
People in Winooski on Tuesday filled the stands in support of the Winooski boys soccer team after allegations emerged of racial slurs being hurled at them during a game.(WCAX)

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