A high school basketball game in Iowa was marred by an altercation and allegation that a referee made a "racially charged" comment towards the coach of City High, who is Black, The Gazette reports.
City High Principal John Bacon and Iowa City Community School District Superintendent Matt Denger sent an email to staff, students and families in support of Little Hawks Coach Brennan Swayzer, who was ejected from the game after the comment from the ref.
“We want to share details about an unfortunate incident that occurred at last night’s boys’ basketball game in Fairfield. During the game, an official directed a racially-charged comment toward our coach. The Iowa City Community School District never condones racism. We stand by our students and staff of color. We are also addressing an incident of physical aggression and helping our students learn better ways to handle a volatile situation," the email read.
“Due to the unsafe environment within the gym, our coaches decided to remove our student-athletes. Our team received a police escort to the locker room, out to the bus, and out of town. While this is certainly not how we wanted this game to play out, we are thankful that the situation was de-escalated and we could safely leave the school," the email continued.
The on-court altercation happened when a foul was called on a City High player, who then shoved a Fairfield player to the ground, and shoved him again after he was down.
The unidentified members of the officiating crew deny the allegation that the referee made a racially charged comment.
“It's concerning that the school district would put out a statement accusing the on-court officials of making racially charged comments without first speaking to the officials or the association. Accusations like this deserve to be fully investigated by the appropriate governing bodies and we welcome such an investigation and our members will fully cooperate," their statement said. “We have spoken to the officials involved and they categorically deny making any such statements. In fact, it's completely out of character for all of them, and they are shocked and hurt by the accusation.”
Read the full report at The Gazette.