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Bad call: White students turn backs, hoist Trump sign as black players introduced

A video of white students acting badly Monday at a high school basketball game in Warrensburg, Mo., is triggering a national backlash after it was posted to social media. The video posted to Facebook shows white students turning their backs and one hoisting a Trump-Pence sign as the visiting team is introduced. The 13 members of the visiting Center High team are all African-American or bi-racial, according to the coach.

This is what stuns me. Warrensburg students have a tradition of turning their backs when other teams are being introduced. I don't get how this "tradition" -- another word for bad manners, poor sportsmanship and idiocy -- was ever allowed to take root. The Trump sign was a new twist to the boorish behavior. (The farm attire reflects a theme-night.)

By the way, Center won 66-62. But those young men won before they ever shot a basket by ignoring the pathetic actions of their opponents and concentrating on the game. Also, cheers to the two Warrensburg students in the front row who ignored their classmates and clapped for the other team.

According to the Kansas City Star, the Warrensburg School District has apologized. The Star reports:

In an interview with The Star, Warrensburg superintendent Scott Patrick said the student section turning its backs during opposing teams’ introductions has been a long-standing tradition, though he referred to it as unsportsmanlike and something the administration does not condone.

Patrick said the school was not notified of any complaints during the game. “I think in this case, (the Trump sign) was really the difference in what took this from something that was unsportsmanlike to something that was insensitive, not necessary and inappropriate,” Patrick said.


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.