A high school football game in Alabama has been postponed after students from both schools exchanged racially motivated and violent posts on social media. Huntsville City Schools in Huntsville, Alabama, announced the game between Grissom High School and Huntsville High School is "postponed until Sept. 24." HCS Superintendent Christie Finley said the decision was made to ensure a safe environment.
"I was made aware of instances of inappropriate social media posts created and shared by several students," Finley said in a statement via USA Today. "These posts turned racially motivated and violent images into 'rivalry material.' The students involved in this incident trivialized racism and violence. Huntsville City Schools does not tolerate or condone racism or violence, and frankly, I expect better of our students."
Grisson coach Chip English told AL.com that a "student from Huntsville High said some insensitive things, and Miss Finley thought it was better if we postponed the game to handle the situation." He then added, "I'm thinking somebody had COVID and all of sudden it's like some student Snapchatted something and the game is at risk," I didn't know anything else until they made the call to postponed it."
Finley sent a letter to both schools and said the students involved would be punished. "The students responsible for these actions will be punished according to our Behavioral Learning Guide, and for privacy reasons, I cannot and will not discuss their punishment publicly," Finley wrote. "I do want to state that postponing the football game isn't intended to punish the students who strive to be all that we expect of our students. Instead, this postponement allows us to ensure the game environment later this month will be safe and serve as an opportunity for Huntsville and Grissom high schools to address the issues that these social media posts present."
There have been a few racial incidents in high school sports this year. In August, racist graffiti was tagged on a high school football field in Maryland. It was reported that five 18-year old male suspects were identified in the case. And in Texas, one school retired its rebel mascot that used confederate imagery. Hays High School has used the rebel mascot for the last 50 years, and at the time, the school was looking to change the name to Patriots, Honey Badgers or Hyenas.