(BOSTON) — A racial slur spray-painted on the house of a Massachusetts high school football player has prompted school officials to forfeit the remainder of the season as federal and local officials investigate the perpetrator behind the graffiti.
Isaac Phillips, 13, who is in eighth grade but plays on the Lunenburg High School football team, said when members of his family went outside Friday morning they found a racial slur tagged across its property.
“Knights don’t need n******,” the graffiti said. Blue Knights is the team’s nickname.
Lunenburg is located 55 miles northwest of Boston.
The teenager’s mother is white. His father is half-black.
“I don’t really understand why someone would even do something like this,” Phillips told ABC’s Boston affiliate, WCVB-TV. “I have two younger brothers and another sister. This is our house, this is where we live. Eventually, they’re going to see it.”
The graffiti happened on the same day that Phillips said his cleats were thrown in a trash can and the tires on his bicycle were slashed in the school parking lot.
“As a community we offer our deepest support to the player and his family and want to emphasize that Lunenburg is an inclusive supportive community, and this is not the sort of behavior we foster or tolerate. The nature of this crime has deeply impacted the team, the school and the entire community,” read a statement posted on the Lunenburg Public Schools website.
The allegations of racism on the part of the team brought to light two other incidents that were reported earlier this month after games between Lunenburg High School and South High Community School ended abruptly.
School officials said several Lunenburg players allegedly taunted their opponents with racial slurs, prompting fights to break out at the end of both games, the Boston Globe reported.
The Lunenburg story has echoes of the rookie hazing scandal that has enveloped the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
Veteran Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely after rookie Jonathan Martin turned in voicemails and text messages that allegedly showed Incognito using the N-word to describe Martin and threaten his family, according to ESPN.
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