Black high school baseball player target of racist taunts: ‘You should have been George Floyd’
Jeremiah Chapman says 'people can't accept me because of my skin color'
A Black high school athlete says his dreams were dashed when he was attacked with racist taunts during a baseball game in Iowa.
Jeremiah Chapman, a junior who was playing in his first game with Charles City High School since the coronavirus pandemic put the country on lockdown, was met with cheers from some and racist chants from others in the game against Waverly-Shell Rock High School
According to CNN, Chapman was called “Colin,” and told “You should have been George Floyd” and “Get back to the fields.” He says the incident has left him disheartened.
“I try my hardest to have everyone like me because that’s just my personality,” Chapman said. “And it’s just hard seeing that no matter how hard I try, people can’t accept me because of my skin color.”
His mother, Keisha Cunnings, was not at the game, but received messages from people in attendance. She hopes this is a wake-up call for her son.
“I was angry because as a parent, this is the one fear I have for him,” she said. “The other part of me was kind of relieved that it did happen because it opened Jeremiah’s eyes to not be so naive and colorblind and ignorant to the fact that things like this still happen.”
Cunnings said she doesn’t believe the people shouting things to her son were trying to be racist, but acknowledged the incident was racialized all in an effort to take him off his game.
“I feel like they were being kids and just trying to say whatever they could say to throw him off his game and unfortunately they took it to race,” she said.
Cunnings also posted a picture of her son and a message in response to the incident, saying “He is kind, sweet and talented.. if you can’t see beyond his skin color then sucks for you!” adding “he doesn’t care who you support politically..and he doesn’t remind you of George Floyd!”
This is my boy! He is kind, sweet and talented.. if you can’t see beyond his skin color then sucks for you! And just and FYI…he has never worked on a field…his name is Jeremiah not Colin…he doesn’t care who you support politically..and he doesn’t remind you of George Floyd! pic.twitter.com/t5YCZKkS9c
— Keisha M. Cunnings (@Mrz_Keisha) July 1, 2020
It is not clear who made the comments, but both the Charles City and Waverly-Shell Rock school districts called them unacceptable.
This is not the first incident of racism for players, according to Charles City Community School District Superintendent Mike Fisher.
Other players on the team have experienced similar forms of behavior at away games.
The Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District apologized in a Facebook post for the behavior during the game.
“This behavior is unacceptable. We make no excuses, because there are none,” Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District said in the post. “We do, however, wish to make a sincere apology to the Charles City school district and community and, in particular, the young man towards whom these comments were directed.
“We can’t undo what’s been done. But we are using this as a learning experience for the responsible party and, we hope, for many others in our schools and communities.”
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