TURTLE CREEK (KDKA) — It was more than just a match up between two good football teams.
Dozens of people came out to stand behind the Woodland Hills youth football team — as they took on Moon Township.
“I came out to show support and solidarity for these courageous young men who are facing so much adversity,” said Shane Freeman.
Coach Marcus Burkly Sr. was glad to see the support for the players, who he says were exposed to a series of racial slurs at their game in Bethel Park earlier this month. The team and coaches say they heard the remarks after three players opted to kneel during the National Anthem, a growing movement to call attention to systematic racism across the country.
“Sooner or later, we want to get with the Bethel Park organization to get the kids to shake hands and stuff, whatever it may be. Just know that change is coming and this racial divide, it’s got to stop,” Coach Burkley said.
There was no National Anthem at Sunday night’s game. But, supporters dropped to their knees to let the team know, they weren’t alone – they have community support, and they should be allowed to have opinions.
“They have every right to stand for what they believe in, and we believe in them,” said Shannon Williams.
For it’s part, the Bethel Park Junior Football Board released this statement after an internal investigation:
“Not one individual we spoke with observed, witnessed or can corroborate Woodland Hills’ accusations of racial slurs or discrimination….Moving forward, we will continue with the mission of Bethel Park Junior Football, which is and always has been to promote a fun and safe environment for the kids.”
“There’s no reason for Woodland Hills to have lied. No reason, and that’s the thing we can’t let go of,” Williams said.
They say if they don’t hear anything from Bethel Park, they’re going to keep the pressure on, and one of the things that’s a big concern, is that Woodland Hills could face Bethel Park again in the near future.