Fruitport Community Schools and Grand Rapids Public Schools released a joint statement Wednesday regarding the allegations from the Fruitport versus Grand Rapids Union football game on Sept. 20.
The two school districts conducted interviews with players and the athletic staff of the two teams to investigate the allegations. In written statements, multiple Union players reported being exposed to disrespectful comments and one Fruitport player reported being exposed to the same comments.
According to the release, both coaches made clear that they have high expectations for sportsmanship and intolerance of comments like those that have been alleged. They will use this instance as a learning opportunity for the teams when it comes to sportsmanship and respect.
The athletic directors, coaches and leaders on the team will meet and discuss the game and ways that incidents like this can be avoided in the future.
The two schools have been in contact with O-K Conference officials discussing the games and what steps should be taken moving forward. Both teams have instructed their players to make school and conference officials aware of any inappropriate comments.
The allegations came to light on Sept. 26 when the father of a Union player posted a status on Facebook. In the post, McFall accused Fruitport players of using racial slurs and overly physical play. McFall did not respond to the Tribune's request for comment regarding the incident.
The full release from the two schools is as follows:
"Grand Rapids Public Schools and Fruitport Community Schools conducted interviews with players and athletic staff to investigate the allegations of racially insensitive comments at the September 20, 2019, varsity football game. In written statements, multiple Union High football players reported being exposed to disrespectful, inappropriate, and insensitive comments. A Fruitport High School football player also reported being exposed to the same.
Both coaches have reinforced their high expectations for sportsmanship and intolerance of comments of this nature. They will be using this situation as a learning opportunity regarding respect, sportsmanship, and expectations on and off the field.
The athletic directors, coaches, team captains, and other team leaders of both teams are scheduled to meet to discuss the game and work together to prevent something like this in the future, not just for football, but for all athletic competitions.
We have also been in communication with the OK Conference leadership to discuss this game and review what processes should be in place moving forward.
We will be carefully monitoring future games and have instructed our players to immediately alert school and OK Conference officials to any inappropriate comments."
The statement also noted that they would not field further questions or release further statements on the game's events.