A high school football team in northern California forfeited its entire season of games after a video of players appearing to reenact a slave auction was posted online.
The mock auction took place last week at River Valley High School in Yuba City and was called “deeply offensive” and “unacceptable” in a statement from Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent Doreen Osumni to CNN.
“Re-enacting a slave sale as a prank tells us that we have a great deal of work to do with our students so they can distinguish between intent and impact,” Ms. Osumni wrote. “They may have thought this skit was funny but it is not; it is unacceptable and requires us to look honestly and deeply at issues of systemic racism.”
The video shows three Black students standing in a corner of the room in their underwear while a dozen or so students yell out dollar amounts, according to KCRA-TV, the NBC affiliate for Sacramento.
“They may argue that it was a joke, and they intended no harm, but the fact is that this is not only harmful, it is disgraceful,” Ms. Osumni said.
The students involved in the video had been banned from the team for the rest of the season for violating the student code of conduct, according to CNN.
Due to the number of students implicated in the video, the team no longer has enough players and had to forfeit its remaining games.