Union County School is investigating an incident at a high school basketball game Friday that involved a player from one team directing a racial slur at a member of a rival school.
The incident occured near the end of Piedmont High’s 64-56 victory over Cuthbertson. While a Cuthbertson player was attempting a free throw, the Piedmont player allegedly used the slur. The Cuthbertson player was black. The Piedmont player was white.
Cuthbertson basketball coach Mike Helms declined comment. Efforts to reach Piedmont principal Jonathan Tyson were unsuccessful.
In a statement, Union County Schools officials confirmed they are investigating the incident.
“Union County Public Schools is taking these allegations very seriously and is actively investigating this matter,” the statement reads “This type of behavior is not tolerated in our schools and staff has addressed this accusation with each basketball player at Piedmont High School. School administrators have interviewed the entire basketball team, coaches and referees to gather information about the allegations from Friday night’s game.”
The Cuthbertson player and his parents were not available for comment, but another Cuthbertson parent, Ernest Chavis, told the Observer that his son was near the free throw line and heard it.
“A few plays before that, there was a technical foul,” Chavis said, “and (Piedmont’s players) were upset about it. My son was on the free throw line and he heard it. He heard a player from Piedmont’s squad call (Cuthberson’s player) the N world while he was shooting. (The Cuthbertson) player was so upset, he missed the whole rim. He started yelling. ... My son said (to the Piedmont player), ‘What did you say?’ And he repeated it.’ The referee said, ‘Y’all hold off on that.’”
The game ended with no issues. Piedmont is scheduled to play at Central Cabarrus Tuesday night.
“I just think our kids were basically in shock,” Chavis said. “They didn’t know what to do. It’s just a basketball game. It’s unfortunate.”