Mostly White Basketball Team Chants N-Word Before Games

Tyra Batts

A Buffalo, New York high school is under fire after a player revealed the racist locker room chants of the school’s basketball team.

15-year-old Tyra Batts, who is new to the team and the only black player, was shocked and offended to learn that there was a tradition of chanting “One, two, three, n*****!” before heading out to the court.

Ms. Batts voiced her disapproval with her teammates, but they continued to recite the chant and make other racist comments about slavery, cotton-picking and shackles.

‘I said, “You’re not allowed to say that word because I don’t like that word.” They said, “You know we’re not racist, Tyra. It’s just a word, not a label.” I was outnumbered,’ Ms. Batts told the local Buffalo News.

Batts eventually got into a fight with one of her teammates at school and was suspended for a week, after the girl made another racially charged comment to her.

The girl’s basketball team at Kenmore East High School had allegedly been using the chant for years, but coaches and school officials never knew because the team would sing the offensive chant in the locker room when there were no adults around.

Ms. Batt could celebrate several other small victories though.

As a result of the allegations:

  • practice is suspended for the team for the week
  • a game has been postponed,
  • a college visit was cancelled and
  • previous sportsmanship award was taken away
  • all of the girls that participated in the chant were suspended from school for two days and have to sit one game out
  • the team will also have to undergo cultural sensitivity training.

Batts is currently trying to petition the school so that she can join the junior varsity team.

“It just wouldn’t be safe,” she said. “There would be a lot of conflict going on.”

Have you ever had to deal with culturally insensitive jokes while being on a sports team? How did you handle it?

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