Dave Owens reports. WUSA9
WOODBRIDGE, Va. (WUSA 9) -- WUSA 9 is following the story of a local high school soccer team trying to make sense of a suspension of one of their players, a suspension they feel is unfair.
During last week's Virginia 6A region final against Grassfield High School, Hylton's Austin Black, was involved in a heated exchange with Grassfield's Mike Abraham. During the confrontation, Black admits he struck Abraham. Black received a red card and a two-game suspension, but Black says he was provoked by racist language from Abraham.
Hylton's school administration filed an appeal of the two-game suspension with the Virginia High School League (VHSL), but the league denied the appeal. Black will not be allowed to play in Saturday's state semifinal game against T.C. Williams at Robinson, nor can he participate in the 6A state championship on Sunday should the Bulldogs advance.
After the game, a Twitter account connected to Abraham posted this tweet: "I told this kid get off me n-word, he pushed me and got a red card." WUSA 9's Dave Owen's spoke with Black and his family on Thursday night, who said they want the red card rescinded because in their minds, this never would have happened if Austin wasn't provoked.
The VHSL's executive director, Ken Tilley, was part of the investigation and had this to say:
"The tweets may not be attributed to the Grassfield player. That's a factor that people are misinterpreting and are not aware of the context of which the tweet was made."
Tilley did say there was verbal abuse, but wouldn't go so far as to say the racist language was actually said. Grassfield has been placed on probabtion for one year. A VHSL press release sent out on Wednesday states: "The League has issued an official VHSL Warning to the Grassfield High School boys' soccer program for one year. A Warning is official notice that an inexcusable, unethical or unsportsmanlike action has occurred, is a matter of record, and that such an occurrence must not be repeated."
If another incident occurs harsher punishments would ensue. WUSA 9 reached out to Grassfield High School and the parents of Abraham, but received no comment.
Below is the full press release from the VHSL:
June 11, 2014
Charlottesville, Va. – During the Region 6A South boys' soccer championship game last Friday between C.D. Hylton and Grassfield High Schools, a Hylton player was ejected for striking an opponent. By definition the VHSL considers striking an opponent to be fighting, which carries a two-game suspension. The Hylton school administration appealed the penalty of suspension. In accordance with VHSL procedures for appealing the penalty, a review by the League was conducted, and the appeal was denied. During the course of investigation, the VHSL determined that Grassfield High School was guilty of a separate sportsmanship violation. The League has issued an official VHSL Warning to the Grassfield High School boys' soccer program for one year. A Warning is official notice that an inexcusable, unethical or unsportsmanlike action has occurred, is a matter of record, and that such an occurrence must not be repeated. Any subsequent sportsmanship incidents during the period of the Warning could result in additional disciplinary measures.