Worn by Warren County rec team

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

Jerseys with explicit racial slurs worn by a recreational basketball team that included Kings Local School District in Middletown, Ohio, students have caused the team to be thrown out of the league.

The names on the backs of the jerseys included “Knee Grow” and “Coon.” The team also had a sexually suggestive name, “Wet Dream Team.’’

The team played in the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League and had its game stopped early on Sunday, when the league banished the team for the season.

Tim A. Ackermann, Kings Local School District superintendent, said the team was not affiliated with the district in a Facebook post.

Charrise Middleton, Kings division coordinator, said in a statement that Kings Rec Basketball “does not in any way support or condone the uniform infractions that occurred.”

The team’s unnamed coach said in a statement released by Middleton, “We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the jerseys. We offered to cover them up or change. However, the league saw fit to remove us, and we have accepted that decision.”

In a letter to Kings Local School District parents, Superintendent Ackermann, wrote,

“You may have seen the news regarding a non-school sponsored recreational basketball team with students from Kings Mills, Ohio, wearing inappropriate jerseys. While we are terribly disappointed in this news, we will take this opportunity to learn and grow from this experience together. Kings Local Schools strongly condemns any type of hateful, inappropriate, and racist commentary. We have an outstanding, supportive community, but we are not perfect.’’

This team is not affiliated with the Kings Local School District or the Kings Basketball Association, an organization that serves over 400 boys and girls between second and sixth grades, Ackermann said in the letter. Teams in grades 7-12 are organized by parent volunteers who work independently, under the jurisdiction of the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League.

The coaches are volunteers and not hired by the school district, he said.

“We do understand that the students involved are Kings students and the teams rent our facilities. After the district was notified of the team’s behavior, the district immediately started the process of gathering information and evaluating the team’s use of our facilities,’’ Ackermann wrote.

“He further wrote, “As a district, a top priority is educating our students and promoting a positive school culture. Over the last two years, we have implemented a program called PBIS, Positive Behavior Interventions Supports that promotes positive character development. Additionally, last year, a district Diversity and Inclusion Task Force was created to embrace diversity and cultural differences, not only in our schools, but in our community and beyond. We have also provided our staff with the opportunities to attend cultural competency training during. Together we can strive to actively promote a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance. Even though these systems are in place, we know we can always improve.’’

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