A “slave auction” video has cost the varsity football team at a Northern California high school their season. The video shows a crowd of River Valley High School students pointing and yelling dollar amounts at three Black students wearing only underwear.
According to Los Angeles Times, the Yuba City Unified School District superintendent said the participating students violated the school’s code of conduct and will not play the rest of the season.
“As a result, we do not have the necessary number of players to safely field the varsity team and must thus forfeit the remainder of the season,” Superintendent Doreen Osumi said.
Officials Received The Video Before A Friday Night Game
School officials learned of the video ahead of the high school’s game last Friday (Sept. 30). As a result, Doreen reached out to district staff members via email. She announced an investigation into the “disgraceful” video and the River Valley’s forfeiture.
“I received a copy of a recording of River Valley High School football members acting out a reprehensible act of a slave auction,” Doreen wrote. “The recording clearly demonstrates that this situation was orchestrated and organized, which underscores my concern that students spent time contemplating this terrible act without the slightest regard that this auction is hateful and hurtful.”
The circulating video shows three Black male students standing against a locker room wall. One of the Black boys appears to have a black mask over his head. Meanwhile, several students yelled and pointed in the boys’ direction. Others stood around as the fake auction went down. Most of the students pretending to purchase their peers appeared to be non-Black, but the district has not provided an age or race breakdown of those involved.
🚨VIDEO: California high school cancels rest of its varsity football season after players did a “slave auction” with black teammates pic.twitter.com/0UPHb0u237
— Breaking News (@NewsJunkieBreak) October 4, 2022
District And River Valley Collaborating On Lessons For The Participating Student-Athletes
In her district-wide email, Superintendent Doreen condemned the “skit,” calling it “unacceptable.” But the educator also called for conversations and lessons to guide their students when faced with situations such as hosting a fake slave auction.
“Reenacting a slave sale as a prank tells us that we have a great deal of work to do with our students so they can distinguish between intent and impact. We know that corrective action may be required in accordance with policy, but it is education, honest, open discussions, and instruction that will guide our students to realize that their choices and actions have consequences,” Doreen said.
Still, all hope of playing this season isn’t lost for sophomores and juniors who didn’t participate in the auction. Superintendent Doreen said the River Valley’s junior varsity would continue their season. In addition, qualifying members from the varsity team will be allowed to join the junior varsity team this season.
No word from any of the students involved or their parents!