Racism was alive and well at a Detroit Denby High School football game and it resulted in some foul actions, according to witnesses. The Detroit Free Press reports that members of the Denby football team clashed with Almont High School supporters during a game between the two schools, and it end with the crowd spitting at Denby players and calling them the N-word.
Denby coach Deon Godrey said the racist remarks started when players took a knee during the national anthem before the game. “Our cameraman is white and was filming near some Almont fans,” Godfrey said. “During the national anthem, he overheard them saying: ‘Look at these N-words taking a knee and they don’t even know why they’re doing it,’ and they kept going.”
Godrey also said that Denby’s white coaches were being called “wiggers” and he said “grown men and women started spitting on our kids as they walked up the ramp. They were throwing food, cups and whatever.”
He continued, “They called my student trainer a little monkey and they were saying: ‘Who let them off their leashes? They need to be on a leash. They never should have been here in the first place.’”
Witnesses say this behavior continued as teen athletes were exiting the field. Godfrey said a punch was thrown after an Almont parent “bumped my player and (the player) bumped him back.” Godfrey said the parent then punched the young athlete in the face, before “my players started running to his aid.”
Shockingly, no arrests were made, according to the Oakland County’s Sheriff’s Department, but a spokesperson said that officers are still investigating the incident. Almont players and coaches were reportedly absent from the brawl.
Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in a statement:
“The school district is deeply disturbed by the actions witnessed this weekend during the Almont-Denby game. Based upon preliminary findings, it is our understanding that Almont adult spectators were cursing and spitting on our coaches and players after the game while leaving the field. The disrespect toward the city, school, and players continued on social media after the game where Almont fans used numerous racist stereotypes. We look forward to getting to the bottom of what occurred based on factual evidence to determine the district’s next steps on how to best support our school and its administration, coaches, and students.”
Until the investigation is complete Vitti said the school district is withholding any possible disciplinary actions. The Division 5 state semifinal football game was also called off in the fourth quarter due to excessive personal fouls.
Almont Community Schools is working with authorities to identify spectators who might have started Saturday’s scuffle. “If any spectators can be identified breaking the law, we will refer them to the appropriate authorities for prosecution,” said Almont Community Schools Superintendent William Kalmar.