Several members of the Lake Worth High School football team decided to boycott their game this past Friday night to express outrage after their White teammate called an opposing player the N-word.
The team, lead by 17-year-old Senior Kamron Kimble, decided not to travel to their away game in Wichita Falls, Texas on October 2. They left open the possibility that they’ll sit out additional games after that.
Kimble, who plays running back and linebacker, told NBCDFW why he and the team made the call to not play following the incident.
“[I’m] definitely trying to get this point across and if that means giving up football, then that’s what it is.”
“I was angry. I was upset.”
Kimble elaborated that his teammate’s use of the slur during their September 25 game against Fort Worth Polytechnic was not an isolated incident in the league.
Kimble was called the N-word by a player on the opposing team during a game earlier in the season too.
As Kimble told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he was upset to then see his own teammate invoke the same term.
“I was really upset with what happened in Venus. I didn’t do anything to the other person and he called me a slur.”
“Coming back the next week to hear a teammate saying it to another player, it’s disappointing.”
“For it to be one of your teammates, it hurts.”
You can see local coverage of the story here:
For Kimble, enough was enough.
“I just knew this was bigger than football.”
“It’s deep. It runs deep.”
“And I knew, me sitting out tonight, especially me being a key player on the team, would make a big statement.”
“Not only to the coaches but to people everywhere.”
Kimble’s mother, Rachel Martinez, took to Twitter to show strong encouragement for her son’s courageous decision.
— Madre (@rmartinez21) October 3, 2020
Martinez went on to tell the Star-Telegram how the school responded when the incident was reported to the school.
“The team followed protocol and reported it, but it was discredited which is exactly what happens in society. You look at young Black men, they can’t be telling the truth because they’re Black.”
“They continue to be profiled and stereotyped and all of that has to stop. I want discipline to the person that said it and I want discipline to the person that discredited it.”
Following an internal investigation, the Lake Worth School District shared a statement on Twitter. After declining to to identify the player that used the slur, the school district briefly explained its commitment to the issue:
“Lake Worth ISD understands the importance of having a safe environment for students and staff that allows for honest conversations.”
The school district then cited an event held to address the issue which included a guest speaker meant to “unify the district and community.”
Please see the attached release concerning the events that transpired at Lake Worth High School.
The athletes have met together for a private meeting. We are asking parents and the community to support these students and their mature decision to heal and move forward. pic.twitter.com/RUAB7ZEnJD
— Lake Worth ISD (@LakeWorthISD) October 1, 2020
When the story hit social media, plenty of people supported Kimble and the team’s bold leadership.
In this era of national reckoning around the long-standing racist tendencies of the U.S, people of all ages and circumstances are feeling pushed to take their stand.