The Meigs and Baker Middle School football teams met for the first time since accusations of racial slurs were made a by Meigs parent. This time, there were no problems thanks to an emphasis on sportsmanship by the school district.
SHALIMAR — The Baker and Meigs middle schools' football teams met for the first time since accusations of racial slurs occurred.
After the last matchup, Meigs football parent Cindy Arnett was upset at the way her son, Micah, had been treated by Baker’s football players.
According to the Arnetts, players on the Baker team had made several racial slurs toward Micah. Arnett took the matter to the Okaloosa School District, which is currently investigating the situation.
Prior to Thursday night’s playoff game between the two teams, the district made every effort to ensure the incident didn’t happen again, including hiring a different team of referees and emphasizing sportsmanship through a speech to the teams.
“Sportsmanship is having pride in your school, your team and yourself,” the speech said. “Sportsmanship is respect for the game and those who play it.”
Even with the extra effort, Cindy was nervous.
“I didn’t want (Micah) to play,” Cindy said. “This is his eighth grade season and they’re undefeated so it meant a lot to him.”
During the game, multiple parents from Meigs came to Arnett to say that she had their full support. On the Baker side of the field, there was only a focus on the task at hand: playing the game.
Both teams took everything they had been told about sportsmanship to heart. There were no racial slurs or fights; in fact, just the opposite occurred. Every time a play ended, the players would help boys from the opposing team up.
“They were nice,” Micah said after the game. “They didn’t mention (the incident).”
Cindy was glad to see her son come off the field happy and hear there were no problems during the game.
“I’m relieved that it went peacefully,” Cindy said. “I hope we can all come together and be in unity in our district and move forward together in our district.”
She gave credit to the school district for helping to remind students that sportsmanship is more important in any game.
“We still love (Baker School) and we forgive everyone that said something last time,” Cindy said. “I just want to thank our district for taking this matter seriously.”