Some parents say their kids were called the “N” word multiple times during a football game between Parkway North and MICDS Saturday.
A football player says you can see where he told the referee that an MICDS player called him the N-word in a video of the game. He said he points to the player after a tackle.
The parents say tension built throughout the game, leading to the shoving seen after the game. MICDS administrators say they investigated and didn't find any evidence of racial slurs during the game.
Three parents from MICDS told 5 On Your Side they felt parents and a coach from the Parkway North acted inappropriately at the game, setting a bad example. Parents from both schools hope they can all come together and talk about what happened, especially since students say they were hurt after being called the racial slur.
A spokesperson for Parkway told us they are sad that the events from Saturday's game detracted from what would have otherwise been a positive experience.
Both school districts released statements on the allegations.
Parkway North released the following statement:
We are saddened by the events from last Saturday’s game. They have detracted from what would have otherwise been a positive and highly competitive high school playoff football experience. Racial slurs and verbal taunts spoken by anyone are extremely disappointing and upsetting because they have no place in athletic events or anywhere in society. Our Viking football team, their parents and the Parkway North community are understandably frustrated and they are hurting.
MICDS released the following statement:
ST. LOUIS, MO (November 6, 2018) On Saturday, November 3, MICDS hosted Parkway North for a district playoff game. It was an intense game, and both teams fought hard to advance to the next round. MICDS ultimately won 21-18. Toward the end of the third quarter, a Parkway North player told a referee, whose microphone was on, that someone had called him a racial slur. The referee had not heard anything, and play resumed. After the game, there continued to be accusations of MICDS players using racial slurs during the game. Since the game, these allegations have been shared via social media. Since the conclusion of the game, MICDS’ Athletic Director Josh Smith has undertaken a full investigation. Josh consulted with all five officials to investigate the racial slur accusation. The officials said they did not hear any racial slurs during or after the game. Written statements from individual officials confirm this. The officials assured our athletics staff that any such use of derogatory statements would have resulted in immediate ejection from the game. Josh Smith has spoken with all adults working at field level and with athletes who played during the game. No one reported hearing any racial slurs used on the field. In fact, our student athletes expressed disbelief, anger and hurt when they learned of these allegations because they do not believe any of their teammates would have done something like that. In addition, Josh Smith and Head Coach Matt Buha reviewed video footage and did not see or hear any racial slurs. We welcome others to review the following videos available online. A full recording of the game is available through 101 ESPN’s Facebook page. Highlights are also available in this YouTube video by Gateway Sports Venue, with a close up of the post-game incident available on Twitter. Finally and most importantly, if the racial slur had been used, our own student athletes would have spoken up. At MICDS, we teach our students to be upstanders and not bystanders. The team values the diversity of their teammates and coaching staff. The team culture would not tolerate racist language or attitudes. The athletes are very upset by these allegations because they cannot imagine they are true. MICDS has faced racial issues in the past as a School community, and we have taken them seriously. We have completed this investigation and simply have not found any evidence for this accusation. There is an additional separate issue. In the last live-action play, one of our coaches had a verbal exchange with a Parkway North player, and it was taken as a taunt by Parkway North parents and assistant coaches. A referee heard the interaction between the player and the MICDS coach and told them both not to talk to each other. The interaction in no way justifies the events that followed. Parkway North assistant coaches caused the situation to escalate. At the conclusion of the game, tensions were heightened. Parkway North assistant coaches charged the MICDS sideline before the post-game handshake could take place, placing coaches and players in danger. I am deeply grateful to members of our football staff and game administration who were able to de-escalate the conflict. Police arrived as the field was being cleared, and everyone was able to exit the venue safely. At MICDS, we do not tolerate racial slurs or hate speech of any kind. Racist acts and words have no place in our School community. Our Mission mandates that we prepare leaders who embrace all the world’s people with compassion and stand for what is good and right. We are committed to ensuring that MICDS is a place where all people—including visitors to our campus—feel safe, valued and included.