Black high school soccer player forced to sit with banana peels says he wants to be treated ‘like a human, not a victim’ first

MOLINE, Ill. – A black soccer player at a high school in Illinois who was videotaped in a locker full of banana peels after a teammate threatened to break his knees if he disobeyed, says he is “okay” and wants people to “stop talking about it. the incident”.

The Moline High School student, who was not identified because he is a youth, also said in a statement released through the Rock Island County state attorney that the soccer team members involved in the incident apologized, Davenport , Iowa, television station KWQC-TV reported.

“I love the soccer team I’m on and they are good guys. I know that personally. I spoke to those involved individually and they apologized. We had a sincere discussion about it and I told them how I felt. please. “don’t bother them at all, bully or threaten them,” the student said in the statement Monday.

An 11-second video that has been widely shared on social media shows another soccer player, whose hand can be seen but whose face doesn’t appear, threatening the black player to sit in the locker “or I’ll break both your knees.” When the player sits down, others can be heard shouting, “Yes!”

Moline’s police chief Darren Gault called the incident a “disturbing racist scene”. He said the department’s investigation found that the people involved were teammates “of both different and similar races as the victim.”

Those findings were turned over to Rock Island County State Attorney Dora Villarreal, who said in Monday’s statement that the case had been referred to her office’s youth division “for appropriate action.”

She urged the public to stop sharing the video on social media and to respect the student’s privacy.

The student added in his statement that he appreciates the concerns raised by the incident, but hopes to “get my life back on track and my life as a student athlete back on track.” He added that he wants to be treated “as a human first, not as a victim.”

“I want to let you know that I’m fine. Everyone is concerned about me and showing concern for me and I really appreciate it. Second, can everyone please stop talking about the incident and the video? I understand that everyone is doing justice for me. want and they want what they think is right to be done, but I have already expressed my feelings to the police and my friends about how I feel about everything, ” he said in the statement.

The Moline-Coal Valley School District is continuing to conduct a ‘school-based investigation’ into the incident, Superintendent Rachel Savage said during Monday’s school council meeting, adding that because the students involved are underage, ‘the details of the student discipline is private and protected. under federal law. “

“While outrage over the incident understandably calls for answers and justice, few details of this school investigation can be revealed. This should not be misunderstood or mistaken for lack of action,” Savage said.

Moline is located about 160 miles west of Chicago along the Illinois-Iowa border.