Teen Baseball Player Says Fans Yelled Racist Taunts At Him During Game

by Cassandra Stone
Teen Baseball Player Says Fans Yelled Racist Taunts At Him During Game

Jeremiah Chapman’s Iowa school district is condemning the racist abuse he suffered during a recent baseball game

Youth sports and parents screaming inappropriate and abusive garbage from the stands go hand in hand, it seems. It’s always despicable and embarrassing, but for one Iowa school district, the racism from a crowd at a recent high school baseball game is unconscionable. A Black player from Charles City High School had to endure several bigoted comments screamed from the crowd — including one fan yelling “You should have been George Floyd.”

During the game, which occurred on June 27 at an opposing district, according to a statement from the school, attendees also apparently told Chapman, who is the only Black player for the Charles City High School team, to “go back to the fields.” CNN reports that Chapman was also referred to as “Colin” at one point, in reference to Kaepernick.

“I try my hardest to have everyone like me because that’s just my personality,” Chapman told CNN. “And it’s just hard seeing that no matter how hard I try, people can’t accept me because of my skin color.” He said he was initially excited to get back to playing sports and feeling normal after the pandemic upended his school year.

Keisha Cummings, Chapman’s mom, told CNN that while she didn’t attend that particular game, she was overcome when her son called her and told her what people were screaming at him.

“I was angry because as a parent, this is the one fear I have for him,” she said. “The other part of me was kind of relieved that it did happen because it opened Jeremiah’s eyes to not be so naive and colorblind and ignorant to the fact that things like this still happen.” Cummings took her anger to Twitter, calling attention to the racism her son faced during what should have been a normal, fun experience for a high school kid.

She addressed the specific racist comments in another post, highlighting that her “kind, sweet, talented” son shouldn’t have had to endure that type of abuse.

In a statement, the Charles City School District condemned the racism Chapman had to face while playing a sport for their school while admitting racism has been a frequent problem in their district.

“Sadly, this has been a pattern of behavior that our students of color have had to endure in many different places and contexts and is part of their daily experience. This is unacceptable. As a place where we do what is best for all kids, We feel compelled to speak out and bring light to the situations that routinely happen to our kids. Our students must know we have their backs regardless of the circumstances and that we are fighting shoulder to shoulder with them to end oppression and to create the world that we know is possible. Our state and nation need to know that our thoughts, words, and actions matter. We must do better. We must be better.”

The opposing school, Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District, offered apologies and offered “no excuses, because there are none.”

However, it was the actions of the umpire at the game that really stood out to Chapman, per CNN. Following some of the abuse, the umpire asked Chapman if he wanted to stop the game, but Chapman said no because he didn’t want to let his teammates down. “That right there really meant a lot to me,” he said. “I didn’t expect him (the umpire) to really care as much about it, but he really was ready to take action.”