SUITLAND, Md. (DC News Now) — A Prince George’s County high school varsity football team is suspended after an altercation with the opposing team. Parents say it’s unfair that only one team was suspended while the other still gets to play.
A video from a game on Sept. 22 shows the moments after a victory for the Suitland Rams. Viewers can see a football coach from Bladensburg High School, the opposing team, approach a player and snatch a towel from him, then push him.
Annette Smith is the grandparent of the player who was allegedly assaulted and says she was disappointed after seeing the video.
“It made me very upset, very upset. I really can’t believe he will assault a kid. He don’t need to be on the field. If he can’t respect himself, and he can’t respect kids,” said Smith.
Parents who were there say it was chaotic after that.
“Everybody from each side is trying to defuse a situation because here we see a child being attacked by this grown adult…so the police are pepper spraying. It’s just a disarray,” said Aneka Deloah, a parent of one of the players.
In a letter to parents, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) said they’ve “placed this incident under special investigation, which will preclude the Suitland High School Varsity Football Team from participating in any football games until further notice.”
Parents learned the Bladensburg Football team still gets to play, which many believe is unfair.
“It’s unfair to our kids and it’s unfair to the school. Do what’s right now in all fairness to these young men, like they’ve put in too much work they just have their work snatched from a bunch of them like this,” said parent Donald Slaughter.
Deloah’s son is a senior player on the team. He was initially suspended after the incident, but because of his grades, he was able to return to school. However, he still can’t play on the team.
“It’s my son’s senior year. It’s unfair to him because now this is hindering scholarship opportunities for us because he can’t play and not be seen, “she said.
Parents are calling on the community to support an online petition to reinstate the team. The suspension not only took away the season for the unforeseeable future but also canceled their upcoming homecoming game.
Adia Brown, a parent to one of the players, started the petition. She said she, along with many parents, wants more clarity as to why only one team was suspended during the investigation, and she wants leaders to offer an alternative decision.
“You take it away football which is probably one of the main factors that’s keeping them from off the streets. The boys need to grow, they still need to be nurtured, they still need to be understood. None of this is helping them this is just making them angry and creating animosity,” said Brown.