(Photo Courtesy of Sewanee Athletics)
Sewanee: The University of The South, welcomed in Emmanuel College (Ga.) on Saturday afternoon for what would be their second contest of the season. For the home Tigers, the game not only marked the first time fans were welcomed back to Hardee-McGee Field at Harris Stadium for a lacrosse game this season but also their first win under head coach Nick DiBernardo.
However, any positives from the contest have been quickly overshadowed by the despicable actions of some of the 120 Sewanee students in attendance.
Emmanuel, which has a roster that features seven Black players and multiple Native American, Latino, and Asian American players, was subject to racial slurs hurled at them by several Sewanee students during the course of the contest.
In the third quarter, the officials had the pause the game and requested the Sewanee fans to be removed from the stadium before they would continue play, per an email sent to the campus community from Sewanee Vice-Chancellor Reuben E. Brigety, who is the first Black Vice-Chancellor in the school’s history.
In the same statement, it was stated that Sewanee Athletic Director Mark Webb “has initiated a comprehensive review of what happened to identify steps Sewanee Athletics can take in its game protocols to help prevent such incidents in the future.” Sewanee has said they will be reposition security and staff to prohibit any such action ever again, the Tigers’ athletic director will be meeting with multiple athlete groups, and they are looking to identify the perpetrators and had down the correct punishment.
A separate statement was also released via Sewanee’s athletics website on Sunday.
Both statements ensured that the school’s Vice-Chancellor and Athletic Director have made contact with Emmanuel’s coaches and players to personally apologize for the treatment they received.
Since those two statements have been released, there has been a wealth of reaction from both the lacrosse and Sewanee communities. In the Sewanee’s student newspaper, The Sewanee Purple, Peggy Owusu-Ansah published an article about the incident. Prominent lacrosse players, such as Kyle Harrison and Jules Heningburg, and multiple others around the community have spoken out.
ESPN has also picked up the story, as well as some local outlets in southern Tennessee.