A California high school has canceled the remainder of its football season after members of the team were filmed enacting a prank in which they appeared to “auction” off Black teammates.
The video showed members of River Valley High School’s football team seeming to act out a “slave auction” of their Black teammates. School district officials received the video on Thursday. Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent Doreen Osumi called the video “unacceptable” and “deeply offensive” in a written statement shared with CNN.
The students involved in the “unfortunate and extremely distressing incident” were barred from competing the rest of the football season for violating the student athlete code of conduct, Osumi said.
Because of this, the varsity football team no longer has enough members to play and the rest of the season has been forfeited, she said.
“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,” the superintendent 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.”
Osumi added that some students may face disciplinary consequences as a result of the video and that the school will also implement “education, honest, open discussions and instruction” around racism.
“At this time, the District and site administration are working in earnest to identify lessons and programs to help our student body learn from this situation,” she went on. “When students find humor in something that is so deeply offensive, it tells me that we have an opportunity to help them expand their mindset to be more aware, thoughtful and considerate of others.”