A high school girls' soccer game got ugly — and political — last week in Wisconsin when supporters of a rival school shouted Donald Trump-themed chants at black and Hispanic players on the field, according to local media reports.
Administrators apologized and launched an investigation after Thursday's varsity game between the Elkhorn Area School District and Beloit Memorial High School in Beloit, a city on the border with Illinois. During the match, Elkhorn fans not only used racial epithets but also cried, "Donald Trump, build that wall," a reference to the presidential candidate's proposal to create a border wall to prevent Mexican immigration, WISC-TV reported. Coach Brian Denu told the outlet some students were so upset by the comments that they left the game.
"One of the girls was cradled in the arms of one of our assistant coaches for a good 15 to 20 minutes," he said. "I could just see the hurt and pain on their face and know that this was obviously something that they hadn't seen before."
Elkhorn superintendent Jason Tadlock told Stateline Sports Hub he'd identified students who "yelled inappropriate/offensive comments toward some of the players," and planned to discuss the incident with them. "Any unsportsmanlike chants or remarks are unacceptable and not representative of our expectations of our students," Tadlock said, adding that the chants were not in line with the district's values.
The New York Daily News noted that Elkhorn Area High School's student population is about 85 percent white. Meanwhile, more than 64 percent of people living in Beloit are white, about 17 percent are Hispanic, and about 15 percent are black, according to Census data.
Ridiculous, racist treatment of some our athletes tonight by Elkhorn High School students. Reprehensible stuff. They should be ashamed.
— Josh Flickinger (@jflick1215) April 8, 2016
— Brian Denu (@BeloitSoccer) April 8, 2016
Trump has proved to be a controversial candidate with his statements on immigration, Second Amendment rights, women and abortion. But while he's winning national polls over rival Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, he's not quite as popular in Wisconsin. Cruz won the Tuesday GOP primary in the Badger State with 48 percent of the vote. Trump got about 35 percent support.
Trump-related incidents have become increasingly common in American schools as his campaign continues. In February, students in Iowa held up signs and pictures of Trump at a basketball game against a primarily Hispanic high school, yelling "Build a wall" and "Speak English," CNN reported. Earlier this month, chalk messages that read "They have to go back #Trump" and "Trump Deportation Force" were found outside the building housing the department of Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, according to USA Today College.