By Patrick Quinn
CANTON, Georgia (WGCL) — Members of the Brookwood Girls Lacrosse team said fans yelled racial slurs at them during a game on Wednesday at Cherokee High School.
“The heckling became more aggressive, more direct, more racially motivated,” said Aja Thomas, goaltender for the Brookwood girl’s lacrosse team.
Thomas said a group of seven or eight boys had been yelling at her the entire game.
Ten minutes into the second quarter, she said heard the first n-word yelled at her. Then another.
“And then it was said again and that confirmed everything. And that’s when I notified the refs,” said Thomas, in an interview Thursday with CBS46 News.
Brookwood High School was playing Cherokee High School in Canton in the first round of the GHSA Class 6A-7A Girls State Lacrosse Championship.
Four players of the Brookwood team spoke with CBS46 News on Thursday, a day after the playoff game.
“In that moment, it elevated to something way deeper than just lacrosse,” said Leah Brown.
The girls said one ref has already warned the group of boys for potential violations of the sportsmanship agreement.
Part of the GHSA Sportsmanship Agreement reads:
“Profanity, degrading remarks, and intimidating actions directed at officials, competitors, or other spectators will not be tolerated, and are grounds for removal from the event site.”
The girls said one ref directed the boys to leave the event.
“They started to exit the stadium,” said Alexis Scoggins.
Scoggins said the group inevitably stayed.
“As a black athlete that played in that game, to me that just feels like they won in that situation for not being kicked out in that game, in that moment,” said Dami Kasumu, a Brookwood lacrosse player.
The principal of Cherokee High School said they investigated the allegations, in a statement on Facebook.
“The administration at CHS spent several hours interviewing coaches, players, other spectators and students who were present at the game and none heard any racial slurs,” wrote Rodney Larrotta, principal at CHS.
CBS46 News reached out to the school district, but a spokesperson said they stand by the principal’s statement.
“If any evidence that confirms such allegations is found, we will address it appropriately. At CHS, we will not tolerate the use of racial slurs by anyone on our campus,” wrote Larrotta.
CBS46 News reached out to the GHSA, but did not get a response.
The Brookwood players said they would like an apology from Cherokee High School.
They also said not feeling heard only impedes progress in breaking into a predominantly-white sport.
“The fact that I can’t play a high school game without those constant reminders that I am different, following me – I felt really distraught,” said Thomas.
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