STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A video of Stevenson High School football players pointing water pistols 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 pistols at a black student who was pretending to be handcuffed on the ground, according to authorities.
Many of the players were laughing, but racist comments can also be heard in the video. At one point, a student mentions George Floyd.
“I was horrified, disgusted, shocked,” Stevenson High School senior Anthonhy Maharidge said. “I felt uncomfortable watching it, and the fact that these are athletes from my school makes me ashamed to go to that school.”
Maharidge said he has seen some concerning behavior during his three years at Stevenson High School.
“A lot of non-black people use N-work, a lot of homophobia,” he said.
That led him to start a petition last year called Minorities Need to Feel Safe in Stevenson, which has been signed by 413 people.
“It shows that people care and that they want change,” Maharidge said. “I just think a lot of people are afraid to speak up for change.”
Others have spoken out about the video of soccer players, while some have even taken it to school administrators. There were two students protesting outside Stevenson High School on Wednesday.
“I want the school and UCS to make a statement that they do not tolerate this,” said student Maya Hunko.
The Utica School District responded to a request for comment with a lengthy statement that reads, in part: “In a case where a diverse group of involved students make a poor decision, regardless of whether their stated intent was not to harm or antagonize deliberately others, the school will use it to help students understand why this is offensive and damaging to the social fabric of our community.”
Maharidge’s mother said she hopes that statement is indeed the case.
“It’s important that the kids who were doing that, even if the kid was involved, know that it’s not okay to keep deconstructing that thought, even if it was a ‘joke,’ and I keep doing this to say ‘joke.’ ‘ because it wasn’t funny,” Jenni Maharidge said.
Here is the full statement from the UCS:
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