Thursday, March 06, 2014

Garfield High Basketball Players/Cheerleaders Abused in Tweets

Garfield High School's basketball team is on its way to start playing at the state finals.  (So is Cleveland's girls basketball team.)  

My Northwest is reporting that after the school's third meet-up with Issaquah's basketball team, things took a nasty turn after tweets were sent saying racially disrespectful things about team members and cheerleaders.

From the report:

Senior Mikayla Brooks has been a cheerleader at Garfield for two years. She says the trash talk between teams during the games or online usually stays lighthearted.

"It's usually jokes back and forth, you know we'll say things back and forth like you got swatted you know it's kind of a fun thing."

According to a police report filed by the Garfield High School resource officer, the online chatter after the teams' third match-up on February 21 crossed the line again from trash talk to hate speech.
"Other people got involved, I don't know who they are. They're behind an anonymous account and they made statements such as 'a mistake was when Abraham Lincoln freed you guys' and 'you guys have primitive minds' and stuff like that. It was really sad and very hurtful," she says. "This is the first time that we've really had a serious problem with another school, so it really took people by surprise."

In all, ten pages of tweets and pictures referencing derogatory terms for African Americans, comparing them to monkeys or calling them primitive, were posted by an account labeled "IssyBros."

Issaquah's principal confirms it was members of Issaquah's student body who sent the tweets.

"Due to the federal right to privacy laws, I can't share with you the details on the discipline or the students involved," she said. "But we did feel it was violating our district conduct and policies and procedures which were not tolerated by us and the students that were involved were investigated and disciplined according to those policies...We found the tweets to be extremely offensive and we're disappointed that our students were involved in that activity."

Were those players taken off the team?  That might have been good.

Garfield's Black Student Union issued the following statement Thursday about the incidents:
"As the Garfield community of students and staff, we are disappointed by Issaquah's lack of responsiveness in assuming responsibility for the comments," says Muth.
"We expect the students involved and Issaquah as a whole to issue a formal apology," added Alicia Butler, a senior at Garfield High School.
"This is the first time we are aware that we were attacked with this kind of racist language on social media, but unfortunately we are used to hearing comments like this from students at competing schools, on and off the court," says Jagana.
According to Detective Renee Witt, the Seattle Police Department takes these messages very seriously. "It is a case that is being reviewed by our bias crime detective to see if it meets a malicious harassment filing."


New Guy said...

"Were those players taken off the team? That might have been good."

It was probably some other students, not players.

Anonymous said...

Where is the apology to Garfield players and cheerleaders, Mr or Ms Issaquah Principal? A vague statement of "discipline" you can't talk about is not sufficient! Total Fail.

I hope Garfield beats the pants off them at State. So vile!


mirmac1 said...

CCA, Agreed!

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is probably the last year for awhile that Garfield plays Issaquah. Next year, it will be Garfield vs. Rainier Beach for the 3A title when Garfield rejoins Metro as a 3A team.


Mercermom said...

You might want to correct the original post to make clear that there is no evidence that it was an Issaquah player, and it seems like it was not. Your post suggests it was, and inaccurate information attributing the posts to an Issaquah player or players seems likely to inflame the situation unnecessarily.

I think the statement from the Issaquah principal seems appropriate. Hopefully the student will apologize; but the entire Issaquah student body isn't responsible for the stupid acts of presumably one idiot.

Anonymous said...

A direct reflection on the parents of the students involved and join the chorusthat hopes GHS prevails at state.


OT: am I the only one who has extreme difficulty deciphering one of the captcha? Sometimes the distortion in unreadable. Are my aging eyeballs to blame?

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, NGC, it's not just you. I love when it's just numbers.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mercermom, if you look at the photograph and read it original story, it is clear there was back and forth. The story isn't clear on this point of who created those tweets (nor is the principal). But it is clear it was more than one student.

I have not said the entire student body is responsible for the tweets or thinks this way.

Anonymous said...

I was so appalled by the lack of sportsmanship and respect for a visiting team a couple years ago that I contacted the Issaquah School. I don't remember getting a reply but the student fans were out of control and completely disrespectful to our players. I remember the group as "Purple Thunder". I think all schools need a sportsmanship refresher course.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Race talk:

Hari has been profiled on NPR’s Morning Editon and was one of Flavorwire’s 50 Up and Coming New York Culture Makers to Watch in 2013….

A former immigrant rights organizer in Seattle, Hari also earned a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics in 2008, writing a merit- earning dissertation entitled “Mexican Returnees as Internally Displaced People: An Argument for the Protection of Economic Migrants Under the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.” This is, by far, the least funny thing he’s ever written.

Here’s a video of the title track “2042 & the White Minority.”


Anonymous said...

I completely agree that everything was in the fault of the Issaquah students that posted the tweets and I even heard that they were suspended (which they deserved) however, I don't believe that the whole student body should have to apologize on behalf of the the few students that comitted the act. You would be falsely generalizing Issaquah because just a few ignorant and not so bright students don't fully represnt Issaquah as a whole. The instigators were probably just some crazy fans, meaning there are probably more normal and respectful fans out there. Plus, I have a few friends over at Issaquah, and their conduct is nothing like the ones that started this whole mess. What I'm saying is, yes it was Issaquah's students' fault and yes they behaved in an unforgivingly disrepectful manner, however, the rest of the shool as well as the basketball team itself probably feel the same dissapointment in them as the rest of us do.