CINCINNATI — Two school districts are investigating social media allegations that racial slurs were slung at Oyler School basketball players during a game at New Miami High School.
The only clear and undisputed piece of information about the game is that it ended early, with two minutes left in the third quarter, after a hard foul. Cincinnati Public Schools spokesperson Frances Russ described the incident that forced the abrupt shutdown as an “unsportsmanlike act”: An Oyler player kicked the fouled New Miami player in the head.
A game recording posted by Butler County Sports Report, which streamed the match, shows the kick. Later, on social media, rumors began to circulate that incident was a response to New Miami players and fans using racial slurs to taunt the Oyler team.
Deanza Duncan, the Black New Miami player on the other end of the kick, said that’s simply not true. He wasn’t even aware of the story, he added, until long after the game had ended.
“As a part of the African-American community, I would never,” he said. “If my teammates did, I would never stand by it and let that happen. And they did not say it.”
Of the moment he was kicked: “It’s crazy. It’s assault. I’ve never been in that situation.”
Izaiah and Elijah Cathey, two Oyler players who were present at the game, said they didn’t hear any racial slurs themselves. They heard the allegations secondhand from their teammates.
“They said they were getting called ghetto-ass kids,” Izaiah said.
“My teammate said he heard the N-word from the crowd and a player on the court,” Elijah said.
The Butler County Sports Report recording of the game shows only a small group of people in the bleachers that night, most of them masked. Narration from commentator Chris Vogt drowns out the sound on the court.
Cincinnati Public Schools and New Miami Local School District are both investigating the incident to determine what really happened, according to statements given by each district.
"That's not in our character, that's not New Miami character,” Duncan said of the allegations. “It may be in the past, but not this team. Not the five players on the court."