A Black football player from Moline High School was hazed and racially targeted by other players in the locker room in a video shot Thursday, district officials have confirmed.
In the video, the player is being forced to sit in a football locker adorned with banana peels.
Moline-Coal Valley School District officials said they were aware of the 11-second video, widely shared Friday on social media, and had launched an investigation.
Candace Sountris, spokeswoman for the district, said the district administrative office was not aware of the video until Friday evening.
The Moline Police Department issued a statement on its Facebook page that the department is aware of the video, and is working with the school district to identify the players involved. Later Friday, Moline Chief of Police Darren Gault issued a statement regarding the incident (read it here).
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the investigations division directly at 309-524-2140, or call Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500.
They have confirmed the authenticity of the video, which the Moline Dispatch-Argus and Quad-City Times also obtained. The paper is choosing not to publish the video to protect the identity of the victim.
One of the participants, a white person whose face can’t be seen but whose finger can be seen pointing at a chair in the locker, is threatening the Black player telling him to sit in the chair, “or I’ll break both your knees.”
When the player finally sits, the others scream, “Yeah!”
School Board Chair Sangeetha Rayapati, who was elected mayor of Moline on Tuesday, declined comment and referred to the district statement.
Moline played Friday at Galesburg. It's unclear if the players involved participated in the game. The team's athletic director and coach weren't immediately available for comment because of the game in progress.