Dalhart vs. River Road: When Rivalry Crosses the Line
One of the greatest things about high school is the competition between schools.
That competition can be in sports, music, or art. It's good to have healthy competition between area schools. However, that competition can take a turn sometimes, when students and fans get a little too passionate.
Last month, the Amarillo Area Chapter of Basketball Officials sent a letter to coaches and administrators this week regarding the behavior of players, coaches, parents, and fans at games.
On Friday, January 20th, the Dalhart Boys Varsity Basketball hosted a game with the River Road Boys Varsity Basketball team. During the game, alleged racial slurs were spoken against the River Road team.
A video surfaced of the incident. According to River Road Senior Cooper Pierce from a Facebook post on the River Road Community Page and his personal page:
I was attending tonight’s basketball game along with students and parents of RRHS players.
Dalhart had a massive “student section”. The game was going well. It was an amazing game until they started talking heavy crap about our players, we were of course upset but this wasn’t the only thing they did. The second half started like normal. But when we got into the 4th quarter. One of our players, that happens to be one of color, was called a “monkey“ while he was making a free throw. And Dalhart students were making noises that a monkey would make. They then were calling one of the other players of color the N-Word while he was right in front of their student section, trying to pass the ball. This is unacceptable.
According to River Road Official, Amanda Brown,
The Board of Trustees is aware of the inciden at the Dalhart basketball game. We are concerned about it an how it impacts our students. Righ now it is being investigated by both sides and we will continue working towards a resolution. We are very proud of how our atheletes and coaches handled a very tense situation.
River Road Officials said that they would release more information as soon as the investigation was concluded.
Superintendent of Dalhart ISD, Jeffy Byrd responded to the allegations:
It was reported to the Dalhart ISD administration that students and players made racially discriminatory and insensitive communication to opposing players during a basketball game on Friday, January 20, 2023. Dalhart ISD will not condone racist or discriminatory behavior and maintains a strict policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, national origin or any other basis prohibited by law. It is the district's expectation that ll students, including our student-athletes, communicate respectfully with their opponents and peers from other districts. Likewise, faculty administrators and coaches are to conduct themselves professionally.
Superintendent Byrd went on to say they are conducting an investigation into the incident.
Moving forward, the District is focused on mending any divisiveness created in our school by this incident and we are committed to promoting a culture of inclusion, respect, and civility.
Read the full statement here.
Let's hope that this was an isolated incident and that incidents like this alleged or otherwise, don't happen again at a school sporting event.