Written by 4:50 am Uncategorized

Racism and high school sports: PennLive readers react – The Patriot

Yesterday, PennLive reporter Ivey DeJesus examined the issue of racism in high school sports, talking to scores of players, coaches, parents and officials, and examining a troubling pattern of intolerance that “violates every parameter of sportsmanlike conduct.”

The response from PennLive readers was, as you might well imagine, vocal and varied. While some appreciated the story, others felt we didn’t highlight the experiences of students from other backgrounds and ethnicities, including caucasian, enough. Others felt the article should have highlighted the more positive aspects of the sports experience. Still others used the opportunity to share their own story or memory involving discrimination.

Below are just a few of the more notable comments we received


Most people know a large part of the game is psychological. Athletes, spectators, etc. will use anything they can to get the opposing team off of their game. Unfortunately this includes racial slurs and any other type of trash talk to try to get the players distracted. I don’t agree with any of the trash talk, but it doesn’t always mean that the players are racist. A lot of coaches have “winning is everything” mentality. Sports are competitive and unfortunately many young athletes are taught to win at any cost. Coaches need to teach respect – period.


A few years ago my grandson’s peewee football team played in Harrisburg!! You talk about Racism, we were called rednecks etc. My grandson was shocked because the Harrisburg team members used “M—– F_____ all the time!! They played Linglestown and my Grandson was up against a black kid and was overpowering him on every play. After the game he called me aside and told me “Grandpa that kid told me get off me M—– F_____”. I asked him what he said he told me nothing I just knocked him down the next play and the name calling stopped. These are only two of the many racist incidents my grandson’s have faced!! So Racism is a two way street!!


I think this story makes the point (well) that a lot of these comments are coming from people that should know better. Kids will and do say stupid things. In those instances it’s then how the adults handle the situation. But when adults are the source of the problem, it’s worth talking about. There seems to be a huge response from the “two wrongs make a right” crowd. If you’ve been called names because you’re white, that shouldn’t have happened. It was wrong and the people doing it are obviously ignorant. The question is, do those words (or did those words) have the same affect on you as racist words might to a black athlete? I bet they don’t (didn’t). That’s just how it is. Maybe one day all hateful words will have the same level of effect. Hopefully that level will be little to no because those words are seldom if ever used.


This may be the most important part of the entire article:

For all the testimonials that racially intimidating acts and language are part of the high school sports arena, black student-athletes say the offenders are almost always a rare few outliers. The majority of opponents, as well as the opponent’s communities, are welcoming and embrace the spirit of inclusion and sportsmanship, they say. “It’s never like the whole team,” Edmonds said. “It’s usually one or two or small groups.”

You can focus on the outliers and then generalize to say that Central PA has a huge problem with racism. Or, you can focus on the overwhelming majority (the non-outliers) and say that thing are working pretty well but can certainly be improved. The choice is yours.


This topic is largely untouched in this area. I’m a former athlete and coach in the Mid Penn, and fortunately have not personally experienced outward racism. It wasn’t until I began to read the comment section on this website that I discovered how much racial hatred exists in Central PA. I blame the Internet and social media for providing a safe haven for bigots to lash out anonymously. The comments and tweets breed confidence which eventually spills out into the public. Also, let’s not forget that racism in young children is learned and fostered in the home.


Great article! Let’s be fair however… racism does not start and end with white folk being racist against blacks. It works both ways. When I was at East Stroudsburg we played (basketball) at Cheyney. I was the only white player on the floor. I got called every name in the book, even was physically threatened. That is a huge reason why I refrained from such comments as I continued as a player and later as a high school basketball coach. One criticism Ms. Ivey – why the need to say “…who is black” or “… who is white” when quoting people in this article? Isn’t that racist in and of itself as well?


There is no place in society for the N word. With that being said, I have a friend who works for NFL Films and he says they have a huge problem with their productions due to African American players using the word all game long in their taunts to each other. The use of the word by rappers has been discussed ad nausem as well.

I dont think the word is going away anytime soon…


Seriously, if this is such an epidemic in youth sports that it warrants this kind of press, maybe its time to shut down the PIAA.

If schools can’t get control of thier students(I mean that in a completely non race related context, but appantly it will be percieved as racisit,) then we need to get them back to educating students and not endangering their sensitivies to this kind of horror.

Move all sports to pay for play club sports. If you don’t like the league you are in you can just not play or find one that suits you.

We can’t have public dollars being spent on what is apparently organized cultural racisim. Its time to stop pretending that the public sphere has an obligation to provide games for children to play. Its time to stop pretending that hisgh school children have a natural right to play organized games. It not only save huge sums of tax dollars, it obviously protects our children from the scourge of racial bias.


How much this deplorable behavior is motivated by a desire to degrade the opponent, as opposed to out-and-out racism, and racists words are ONE way to do it?

A few years ago, I attended a Philadelphia Eagles game with my father at Lincoln Field. Right behind us were two men – both white – who, at one point, shouted vicious, cruel things to one of the players and a coach (who had fouled up a play). This particular player and coach were white. The stuff they were shouting was vile (they were referring to the coach’s wife at one point!), but not necessarily racist. I’m not seeing, however, how what they were doing is somehow “okay” or “different” because no racial slurs were involved.

(Ironically, given the location of our seats, there was absolutely no way that the player or coach would ever hear what they were shouting.)

Incidentally, after we left, I asked my father who they were, and he said, “They are Philadelphia police officers!”


I’ll never forget attending a game between Cedar Cliff and Harrisburg and seeing signs that said “Lynch Harrisburg”. The Harrisburg sideline was crawling with police with German Shepherds.

Visited 4 times, 1 visit(s) today