Local city council tackles racism in athletic events

Local Sports

PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) – Racism can be a hard issue to deal with, especially for those high school age and younger. After receiving several reports of racial behavior during high school athletic events, the Portsmouth city council has decided to tackle this issue head-on.

The council met for their regular meeting Monday evening. On the agenda, the council discussed a resolution designed to address racist behavior during sporting events.

Councilmen Sean Dunne and Edwin Martel met with representatives from the Portsmouth High School in regard to complaints from one coach on racial statements made during an athletic event.

The legislation includes a request to change the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s statewide (OHSAA) policies.

Dunne says, after research, they have noticed the OHSAA is missing specific language regarding racial misconduct.

Currently, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has no specific language for addressing racism. They do have bylaws for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sean Dunne, Portsmouth city councilman

This new legislature states students have been “subjected to vile and disgusting racists statements and behaviors during athletic events for decades.”

In an attempt to avoid further discrimination, the resolution is also suggesting that referees be able to force forfeiture of a team due to racist comments or behavior.

Dunne says this will include not only the players and coaches, but also the fans.

That behavior could be engaged in by players, coaches, or fans of a school.

Sean Dunne, Portsmouth city councilman

While the council has moved the resolution to a first reading at their next meeting, Dunne says they are looking more toward a statewide change.

The council is inviting all schools in Ohio to also be a part of this initiative.

The council will be discussing this issue further during its next meeting. You can find future meeting dates here.

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