HOOKSTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) – Allegations of racial epithets and dirty play at a recent high school football game are at the center of an investigation.
WPIAL is looking into claims by Steel Valley High School players against the coaches and players from South Side Area High School. Now some Beaver County fans say they were the targets of name-calling.READ MORE: Panel Gives The Go Ahead To Demolish Building That Housed Wright Brothers' First Bike Shop
With their team and coaches accused of racism and dirty play, some fans in Beaver County say it was they who were under attack at Friday night’s game.
With a playoff game pitting a rural predominately white team against an urban mostly Black one, the atmosphere was charged, but a father and daughter from South Side even called it hostile, saying Steel Valley fans taunted them from the moment they sat down in the stands.
“Just constantly harassing us, constantly yelling vulgar things at us,” Alyssa Reed said. “Like hillbilly, telling us to f-off, go back to where we came from.”
“We were not welcome. I was definitely in fear for my safety,” said Ken Reed.
“The whole point of an investigation is to get every side of the story,” said WPIAL Executive Director Amy Scheuneman.READ MORE: KD Sunday Spotlight: LIFE Pittsburgh Giving Independence And Support To Seniors
WPIAL is now investigating mostly what occurred on the field: allegations South Side players called Steel Valley players the n-word and engaged in dirty play. But Scheuneman said the league has drawn no conclusions and is investigating all facets of the game.
“As we all know, there’s two sides to every story, sometimes more in regards to what game officials might have seen, what a game manager might have seen. So we will evaluate everything that’s presented in order to understand the full scope of the situation,” said Scheuneman.
Delorean Parms is the father of star running back Nijhay Burt, who suffered a fractured ankle. Parms believes his son was targeted by South Side players and coaches for serious injury.
“I don’t know, I didn’t have a uniform on. I wasn’t on that field, but I would like to think the boys would be better than that. The coaches too. The coaches I absolutely don’t think they would do that. I’ve know those guys a long time.”
The Reeds say they’re saddened by their experience and the allegations, saying that country and the region need to get beyond race and learn to live, work and play together with mutual respect.
“This was a high school football game. Let the boys play football. It shouldn’t have been turned into something that was about race. It should have just been a high school football game,” said Alyssa Reed.MORE NEWS: The Black Market Returns For The Holidays To Showcase Local Black-Owned Businesses
The investigiation will take a while. Independent investigators hired by South Side were at the school and will forward their findings to WPIAL.