A high school football team in Yuba City, California, will be forfeiting the remainder of the season after some of the team members acted out a slave auction, the superintendent of the Yuba City Unified School District said.
Superintendent Doreen Osumi said the district received a video Thursday of the “reprehensible act,” which allegedly showed team members at River Valley High School pretending to auction three of their Black teammates in the locker room, KTLA sister station KTXL reports.
Osumi added that the players involved in the “unfortunate and extremely distressing incident” will not be allowed to play for the rest of the season.
“They violated our student athlete code of conduct which they all signed and committed to follow, and that will not be ignored or minimized,” Osumi wrote, in part, in a lengthy statement. “As a result, we do not have the necessary number of players to safely field the varsity team and must thus forfeit the remainder of the season.”
Osumi added that the incident “tells us that we have a great deal of work to do with our students.”
“They may have thought this skit was funny, but it is not; it is unacceptable and requires us to look honestly and deeply at issues of systemic racism. We know that corrective action may be required in accordance with policy, but it is education, honest, open discussions and instruction that will guide our students to realize that their choices and actions have consequences.”
The video was first shared in a group chat between students, though at least one student claims the clip made its way to social media.
“I seen it on TikTok,” said one student who spoke with KTXL. “And I sit next to the guy that recorded the video, in my second-period [class] … It’s really shocking, because especially after I seen who [recorded it], because, y’know, I never thought he would do that.”
The school board is making plans to turn the incident into a teachable moment for students who may not realize the “deeply offensive” nature of the athletes’ actions, Osumi said.