Police Investigate Racist Video of Moline HS Football Players Threatening Teammate

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2021

High School Football goal posts and field at Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton, California. October 16, 2004. (Photo by Madison Images, Inc./Corbis via Getty Images)
Madison Images, Inc./Corbis via Getty Images

The Moline Police Department in Illinois announced Saturday it completed an investigation into a video that showed members of the Moline High School football team forcing a Black player to sit in a locker stuffed with banana peels while being threatened.

Moline Police Chief Darren Gault told Thomas Geyer of the Quad-City Times the department had identified all of the student-athletes involved in the incident and have since provided all of the information to Rock Island County State Attorney Dora Villarreal for further review.

Gault said the players who forced the Black player to sit in the locker were of "both different and similar races to the victim" and viewed the situation as a prank.

"We all agree that regardless if the students viewed this as a joke, it is unacceptable behavior," Gault said. "This is a teaching moment for everyone and a reminder that we can do better. We can treat people better. We can be better friends. We can be better teammates. We can be better people. We can also stand up and confront situations when they are wrong. In doing so we can raise our morals and increase the respect we have for each other."

The Moline-Cole Valley School District released a statement calling the actions represented in the video "vile behavior" and said it planned to take "decisive action" following its own internal investigation, per TMZ Sports.

Video of the incident, which occurred Thursday, included a white teammate of the Black player saying he'd "break both your knees" if he didn't sit in the locker.

School board chair Sangeetha Rayapati, who's also the city's mayor-elect, said the people involved in the incident will be held "accountable," per Geyer.

"I speak from the heart when I say we have a responsibility to teach them a better way,” she said. “It's awful to know a child was treated that way. It's awful to know that that child will be marked forever by the incident and the disrespect they received. And it's awful to know other children would see this as a joke."

Moline's football team played a road game against Galesburg High School on Friday night. It's unclear whether the individuals involved played in that contest.