Racially charged video of Sterling Heights football players at team breakfast sparks outrage

Video included racist remarks from freshmen at Stevenson High School, officials say

A video of Stevenson High School football players pointing water guns at a Black teammate who is pretending to be handcuffed during a team breakfast has sparked outrage in the Sterling Heights community. The video surfaced on social media and shows members of the freshman football team at an off-campus team breakfast earlier this month. Some of the players were pointing water guns at a Black student who was pretending to be handcuffed on the ground, according to officials.

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A video of Stevenson High School football players pointing water guns at a Black teammate who is pretending to be handcuffed during a team breakfast has sparked outrage in the Sterling Heights community.

The video surfaced on social media and shows members of the freshman football team at an off-campus team breakfast earlier this month.

Some of the players were pointing water guns at a Black student who was pretending to be handcuffed on the ground, according to officials.

Many of the players were laughing, but racist remarks can also be heard in the video. At one point, a student mentions George Floyd.

“I was appalled, disgusted, shocked,” Stevenson High School senior Anthonhy Maharidge said. “I was uncomfortable watching it, and the fact that these are athletes from my school makes me embarrassed to go to that school.”

Maharidge said he’s seen concerning behavior during his three years at Stevenson High School.

“A lot of non-Black people using the N-word, a lot of homophobia,” he said.

That led him to start a petition last year called Minorities Need to Feel Safe at Stevenson, which has been signed by 413 people.

“It shows that people care and people do want change,” Maharidge said. “I just think many are scared to speak up for change.”

Others have spoken up about the video of the football players, while some have even taken it to school administrators. There were two students protesting outside of Stevenson High School on Wednesday.

“I want the school and UCS to make a statement that they don’t stand for this,” student Maya Hunko said.

The Utica School District replied to a request for comment with a lengthy statement, which reads, in part: “In a case where a diverse group of students involved make a poor choice -- regardless if their stated intent was not to deliberately harm or antagonize others -- the school will use it to help students understand why this is offensive and harmful to the social fabric of our community.”

Maharidge’s mother said she hopes that statement is really the case.

“It’s important for those boys who were doing that -- even if the kid participated -- to know that it’s not OK to continue to deconstruct that thought, even if it was a ‘joke,’ and I keep doing this to say ‘joke’ because it was not funny,” Jenni Maharidge said.

Here is the full statement from UCS:


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