During an intense championship game Saturday between the Buchanan High School of Clovis and Oak Ridge High School of El Dorado Hills girls soccer teams, one individual decided to heckle Black and Latino soccer players from the stands, according to NBC News. They were reported to have barked and made monkey noises at the players.
One of the player’s coaches called out the behavior as “blatant racism.” The Buchanan girls soccer coach Jasara Gillete wrote a statement to NBC describing what happened.
“Our third kicker, who is of African American descent, was subjected to monkey noises and gestures that came from the Oak Ridge stand as she took her PK,” or penalty kick. “The player before her who is Hispanic was also barked at,” Gillette said.
The harassing noises came from “one individual in the Oak Ridge side of the stands,” the El Dorado Union High School District, which oversees Oak Ridge High School, said in a statement.
Following the distractions, it was reported that no actions were taken to remove that person from the stands. The Oak Ridge principal, Aaron Palm, told NBC it was “impossible to determine who had made the sound.” However, once identifying the heckler as a student, Palm said the school was taking disciplinary actions toward them. Palm said the incident “embarrassed their entire school” and that there was “no room for this type of behavior anywhere in society,” via NBC.
Oak Ridge won the game in the end which Coach Gillette believed was partly due to the heckling of her players. “Our players were physically and emotionally upset after the incident and were not addressed. This gave a huge competitive advantage to our opponent and directly influenced the end of the game!” said Gillette via NBC.
A complaint has been filed with the California Interscholastic Federation by the Clovis Unified School District, reported NBC.