In June, a couple of players on the Kearns High School football team recorded a video of themselves setting fire to a Pride flag and posted it to social media. Someone in the video is heard saying, “all gays die.” The video was first published on Snapchat by a 15-year-old freshman, and another teammate shared it.
The head coach of the football team, Matt Rickards, at the time told Fox 13 News, “There’s no place for that in our program at all, and it won’t be tolerated. It’s potentially a hate crime, so it sickens me. We have one rule in our program, and that is not to embarrass yourself, your family, or your team. That rule was broken. There’s got to be consequences for that.”
Rickards’ response was to have the two students suspended indefinitely from the team while Granite School District officials are determining the proper punishment (for what they consider to be cyberbullying), which could include community service or school suspension.
“We take any comment or social media post that is intended to make any student feel unsafe very seriously,” said Ben Horsley, a Granite School District Spokesman. “This student’s actions are in no way reflective of the Kearns community and high school. This is an unfortunate reminder that we need parents’ help to monitor children’s use of social media to ensure they use it in a responsible fashion.”
Since the incident, the district also said they have reached out to members of the LGBTQ community to help with future empathy exercises and educational opportunities.
The Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake has yet to confirm whether the boys will face criminal charges.
The video was posted on Twitter at:
@GraniteSchools If there’s not an official investigation with police involvement about this video of kids from the Kearns Football team @KearnsFootball , the gay kids of kearns will riot ✌🏼 this will NOT be swept under the rug. This is NOT OKAY. (A thread) pic.twitter.com/e0BVlFqXjz
— Tiarra (@Buddhist_chick) June 17, 2019