HS football player says ref used racial slur

August 31, 2011 5:07:00 AM PDT
Chicago Public Schools is investigating a complaint that a referee used a racial slur against a player during a high school football game.

Kiwane Williams, an African-American player from Bogan High School, says a white referee called him a racial slur during a game against Tinley Park High School.

Bogan, a mostly minority school on the city's Southwest Side, was playing Tinley Park, a more racially diverse south suburban school. It was the first game of the season, a non-conference game hosted by Tinley Park. Bogan players say the Tinley Park team was classy but one referee in particular was not. Williams says the referee was talking to him the whole game and toward the end said something that shocked him.

"The ref came up and called me a stupid 'n' word, 'cause you're a supid 'n' you think this is playground football or something,'" Williams told ABC7.

Williams, a junior cornerback, says he was taken aback. Rather than say something back to the ref, he ran off the field and told his coach who talked to the referees about it. The coach was then kicked out of the game.

William's mother Pamela was in the stands. She was unable to hear what the referee said but was concerned about her son.

"Very angry. I immediately went down to try to find my son to make sure that he was OK because I know that it was uncomfortable for him because he had never experienced anything like that," said Pamela Williams.

Other Bogan parents also reacted angrily. One wrote a letter to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) saying in part, "a person who preys and abuses a child emotionally and spits out such hateful, racist attacks has no business anywhere near our children, doing damage to their self esteem, image, mental being or trying to degrade their race."

In the meantime, Bogan coaches have filed a complaint. The Chicago Public Schools athletic department has received a report from the coach. They say they are looking into the allegations.

A spokesperson for the IHSA says they are also aware of the allegations and are helping with the investigation.

Kiwane Williams says he wants the ref fired. His mother wants an apology.

"I would like to stop this type of thing from ever happening again, especially to any other children at a school function," said Pamela Williams.

The Chicago Public Schools spokesperson says the district has no comment on the allegations until the investigation is complete.

The referees are licensed by the IHSA but are assigned by the host school's conference.

ABC7 reached out to the referee for comment but he has not responded.

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