Three student athletes involved in the viral “slave auction” video have broken their silence following the cancellation of their football season. In a report from CBS News, the three apologized for their role in the incident and also claimed it was peer pressure that forced them into participating.
“I did not want to do it but looking back I wish I had done more to stop it. When the video was made, I was not feeling good about it and I froze,” said River Valley High School sophomore Adrian.
The three students, Adrian, Marcos and Alex, admitted to taking part in the slave auction prank video during a press conference with the NAACP. The disturbing video shows a student walking into a locker room and turning on the light to reveal a crowd of white football players auctioning off three Black students dressed in their underwear with belts around their necks. However, the students alleged they didn’t take part in the “prank” willingly at first.
Read their statements from CBS News:
“Part of me knew it was wrong when it was happening and I didn’t have the courage to stop myself or my teammates and I wish I would have,” said Marcos, a junior. “I am here today because I want people to know I am sorry. I apologize to anyone I have hurt or offended.”
“They needed another person to be in the video and being the only black person left in the locker room they all turned to me. I made it clear I didn’t want to do it and tried to leave but wasn’t able to,” said Alex, a senior.
As punishment, the report says the three were removed from their football team and given a three-day suspension. Adrian’s father said in the conference he was hurt that the school rushed to punish the students before fully investigating the incident and as a result, the innocent football players also lost their season.
Greater Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams suggested there may be some racial inequity in how the school punished the Black students in comparison to the white ones. Beyond the discipline, Williams said she wants to change the culture and climate of the school as well.
“Every district is responsible to make a change,” said Williams via CBS.
More of Williams’ statement from ABC 10 News:
The NAACP is also meeting with the school’s principal and Yuba City School District board members to address how the students were punished this week.
“We want to address the inequity in punishment, as some students received a three-day suspension, while others received a one-day suspension. We want to collaborate with schools and school districts in our region to help educate the students on the effects of racist behavior and implement regulations that ensure the safety of students of color. We need to ensure that we educate students on the history of Black Americans in this country,” said President Betty Williams. “This hateful behavior will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated, and findings reported as we move forward in trying to understand why this behavior continues to grow within our local school districts.”