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Minneapolis North Basketball Player Receives Racist Social Media Message Ahead Of State Championship Game

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A Minneapolis North basketball player received a racist social media message on Friday evening, shortly after a win which took the team to the state championship.

Director of Basketball Operations Trent Witz posted a screenshot of the message sent to the player online. The message contains derogatory language and the use of the N-word.

"I wish I could say that such a comment is uncommon, but it is not; these are the types of incidents our program must regularly deal with, and are becoming all too common throughout our state," North Head Coach Larry McKenzie wrote.

He posted a statement online, saying his "heart breaks" for his players, who have also struggled through the loss of a teammate and the teachers strike.

"We hope this young man will be held accountable for his message, but we also hope that he and others can learn that such racially charged comments are hurtful and unacceptable under any circumstance," McKenzie continued.

The Minnesota State High School League says the note came from a Chokio-Alberta student following the semifinal game between Minneapolis North and Morris Area/Chokio Alberta. The league said administrations from both schools have been in contact with one another to "communicate sincere apologies and regret for this behavior."

Chokio-Alberta had the student remove the post, and North administrators have provided support to the recipient and his team, the league said.

"These actions have no place in our schools or activities and the League is committed to holding students responsible for all behaviors that are a direct violation of the belief that ethical behavior, dignity and respect are nonnegotiable," the MSHSL wrote in a statement.

Morris Schools Superintendent says the administration will use the incident as an educational opportunity for all students.

"We are saddened by this incident and wish to apologize to the players, coaches, fans, and community of Minneapolis North," Superintendent Shane Monson said.

Friday's social media post is the latest in a string of racist incidents at the high school level across Minnesota. New Prague has repeatedly been accused of racism at sporting events. The Minnetonka girls basketball coach resigned after a player used a racial slur against classmates.

The Prior Lake girls basketball team ended their season early after a player found a racist note in her gym bag. In early March, a video surfaced in Edina which targeted Asian and Jewish communities.

The top-ranked Polars lost the state championship game against Annandale. After the game, McKenzie, the Polars coach, said that sports are a powerful tool in the fight against racism.

"Athletics bring people together," he said.

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