From West Charlotte High School student-athletes to the pros, racism creeps onto the basketball court

Player suspended after racist post

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A star basketball player for Ardrey Kell High School has been kicked off the team right before Tuesday night’s big game against West Charlotte High School. This happened because the 17-year-old said something racist on Snapchat.

The player, who is white, said the N-word in a private message, but it was captured on a screenshot which made its way to Facebook and Twitter.

The playoff game against Ardrey Kell and West Charlotte was no longer just about basketball. Racism has found its way onto the court through social media.

“It’s very wrong what they said towards our team. I feel like that type of energy...there was no need for that,” said Miles Worth, a junior at West Charlotte.

This isn’t the first-time athletes have gone through something like this. Several professional players in the NBA and WNBA recently sat down in a Bleacher Report interview to talk about their own personal experiences of being called out of their names.

“They don’t see you as people when you walk on that court for whatever reason. They say whatever they want,” said Mike Conley Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies.

This also isn’t something that started when they made their way to the big time, it happened when the athletes who are now pros were kids.

“The earliest memory I recall getting called the N-word was in high school,” Conley continued.

“I was in middle school,” said Washington Wizard guard Bradley Beal.

“I was called the N-word in general in middle school,” said CJ MCollum of the Portland Trailblazers.

The parents of the Ardrey Kell student, who has been kicked off the team, offered an apology with this statement. That says in part:

“Being part of a diverse community is significant to our values as a family, but it is clear from today, that there are more conversations to be had as today’s words don’t reflect the tone of our home nor true heart of our son. [He] is ashamed and deeply sorrowful for his word choice.”

Those who are a part of the West Charlotte community say sorry doesn’t cut it and just proves that racism is very much alive and well because the proof is in the pudding.

“We’re a reflection of our parents and our communities and I was told of an apology...regardless of an apology that doesn’t excuse what’s happened,” said Maurice Grier, a 2014 graduate of West Charlotte.

Some West Charlotte high school students say they really can’t dwell on the fact that the N-word was used to describe them. They say for many of these athletes the only way out of their current situation is to pick up a basketball and shoot for a scholarship.

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