5-Star Recruit Jalen Johnson Taunted by Students with Photo Resembling Blackface

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2019

Photo Credit: Max Siker, 247Sports

Jalen Johnson is one of the country's most highly regarded high school basketball players, but he was reportedly subjected to taunts Wednesday night by an opposing student section, which distributed a picture that resembled his wearing blackface. 

Mark Stewart of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (h/t USA Today) reported the news, noting it occurred when Johnson's Nicolet High School defeated Port Washington 75-40 in a game in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Students from Port Washington distributed a picture of Johnson wearing a skin care mask that resembled blackface and displayed them behind the basket during free throws.

Nicolet superintendent Robert Kobylski said the picture was taken from Johnson's Instagram page and shows him wearing a charcoal skin care facial mask. 

Johnson tweeted the student's actions were "UNACCEPTABLE" and retweeted a tweet calling the incident "despicable."

"I cannot speak to the motivation or intent the Port Washington students had in displaying this photo, whether a harmless skin-care prank or a more deeply troubling, racially motivated scenario," Kobylski said in a statement, per Stewart. "I can attest, however, to the fact that Jalen is more than a tremendous athlete: He is a fine, upstanding young man and deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy by all students and people, no matter what bench they are rooting for."

Even in the face of the taunts, Johnson finished with a triple-double of 10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the blowout victory.

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he is a 5-star prospect and the No. 3 player and No. 1 small forward in the class of 2020. Notable programs such as Arizona, Duke, UCLA, Wisconsin and Kentucky are all included on his college list.