- A brawl between two high school football teams erupted following race-related friction during a playoff game in Florida, according to multiple reports.
- The conflict started after players from one team flew a Blue Lives Matter flag at the start of the game and the opposing team countered by taking a knee during the National Anthem, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
- The Florida High School Athletic Association took action against the team said they had initiated the fight, the Orlando Sentinel reported citing documents from the association.
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A major fight broke out between two Florida high school football teams last month following race-related friction that resulted in disciplinary action against the team who started it, according to multiple reports.
The fight occurred after a state playoff game between players from Wekiva high school of Apopka, Florida VS Mitchell High School of New Port Richey, Florida on November 27, according to the Daily Mail.
The tensions arose before the game started when players from Mitchell â€” which had won the game â€” flew a Blue Lives Matter flag in honour of police officers who are affiliated with the team, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“It goes back to a team that we had a couple of years ago that had several parents that were police officers,” Mitchell coach, Andrew Schmitz, told the Tampa Bay Times. “So they started running out with it, and then (the tradition) has just kind of gotten passed down. I don’t understand how that’s part of the story, but whatever.”
In response, Wekiva players then took a knee for the National Anthem, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
According to documents from The Florida High School Athletic Association, which had been viewed by the Orlando Sentinel, Wekiva High School received a $US500 fine and are put on probation until June 2022 for starting the dispute. Ten players on the team were suspended from sport-related activities as a result of the fight including one who is not allowed to play in a game for a 12 month period. Mitchell High School was also fined $US500 for their involvement in the altercation, according to the report.
Footage of the incident was published online and shows the physical dispute between the two teams. An individual is seen slamming a football helmet toward a Mitchell High school player in the video. The principal of Wekiva High School, Tamara Baker-Drayton, told the Florida High School Association in an email, that a parent was also involved in the altercation, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The newspaper also reported, Baker-Drayton said two players from the Mitchell football team used offensive racist language, against a player on the rival team.
“We weren’t the aggressor,” a spokesperson for the Pasco County school district told the Tampa Bay Times referring to the Mitchell team. Law enforcement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene to deescalate the situation, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is not investigating this incident after they did not receive reports related to this situation, the Orlando Sentinel reported.