Officials in a Massachusetts town have called off the remainder of a high school football team's season after racially charged graffiti was allegedly spray-painted on the house of the team's only black player.
Lunenburg, Mass., School Superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes announced Monday that the "remaining football games of the season have been forfeited" — including the traditional Thanksgiving Day game — because of "racial harassment investigations."
Racial slurs, including the N-word, were found Friday spray-painted on the foundation of the home of freshman and junior varsity athlete Isaac Phillips, 13 — the only black player on the Lunenburg Blue Knights football team, according to NBC affiliate WHDH. Isaac's father is black and his mother is white, according to the Associated Press.
Anthony J. Phillips, Isaac's father, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he is angry at Lunenburg officials who allegedly concealed racist remarks made by numerous Lunenburg football players during games.
"This is a few bad kids and the coaches are letting them do anything they want to do," the father told the newspaper.
At a news conference Monday, Calmes thanked locals for gathering at a vigil Sunday night and standing behind Phillips and his family, who she said were victims of an "act of hate."
“The educators and coaches of Lunenburg value diversity, and we care deeply about all of our students,” Calmes said. “We have no tolerance for racism in any form, and we do everything we can to eliminate it from our schools and our community.
The Anti-Defamation League has condemned the incident and labeled it a hate crime, according to the AP.
Gov. Deval Patrick even spoke out on the alleged hate crime, suggesting that the incident was beneath the people of Lunenburg, according to WHDH.
Authorities told the AP that the investigation into the incident is ongoing, with assistance from the FBI. Lunenburg Police Chief James Marino declined to speculate on who is responsible for the graffiti, the wire service reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published November 19 2013, 12:06 PM