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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Youth basketball team kicked out of league for racist and offensive jerseys

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A youth basketball team in Cincinnati will no longer be allowed to take part in its recreational league after players wore customized jerseys featuring racist and inappropriate phrases on them.

Tony Rue, a parent who sometimes coaches the West Clermont team in the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League, noticed last month that kids from the Kings Mills team had inappropriate phrases printed on their jerseys. Rue’s wife pointed out on Sunday that the Kings team was calling itself the “Wet Dream Team,” and the jersey name plates had racist phrases like “Coon” and “Knee Grow.”

“This isn’t a typo, this isn’t a mistake, these are ideas that were thought of, discussed, agreed upon by adults and kids alike, printed on uniforms…and no one thought this was a bad idea or inappropriate?” Rue wrote on Facebook, according to Chris Mayhew of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

After its fourth week in the league, the Kings team was finally kicked out when a West Clermont representative stepped in to speak to referees during the second quarter of Sunday’s game.

“It was so blatant that it had to be fake,” Rue said. “Sadly it wasn’t.”

The game was called and the players were sent home. Dawn Gould, a spokesperson for the Kings Local School District, said Monday that the team was not associated with the school district but could not say whether any students would be disciplined.

“Today we became aware of inappropriate conduct from a team of students participating in a recreational basketball league that is not affiliated with the Kings Local School District,” Gould said in a statement. “This team has been restricted from any further use of district facilities. Kings Local Schools strongly condemns any type of hateful and racist commentary. This behavior is in no way welcome or tolerated in our schools and community.”

The coordinator for Kings Rec Basketball 7-12 also condemned the inappropriate uniforms.

“When I learned of the uniform infractions last night the team involved was immediately removed from the league and will not be returning to play this season,” Charrise Middleton said. “Kings Rec Basketball for grades 7-12 does not in any way support or condone the uniform infractions that occurred. We strictly follow and support the rules set out by CPYBL and fully support their decision to remove the team from play as well.”

The team’s coach also issued a statement to “sincerely apologize to anyone that was offended by the jerseys,” though its hard to understand why they were allowed in the first place. Rue said players on his son’s team were disappointed that the game was called but learned a valuable lesson.

“They were very unhappy when it was called, not because of the game ending but because another team’s dumb decisions caused them to play just over a quarter of basketball,” Rue said. “They learned nothing basketball-wise, they had to learn more about racism and stupidity.”

Rumors are swirling that one of the most controversial professional leagues in American sports history could be coming back, and even they wouldn’t allow some of the phrases that were printed on the jerseys of children.

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