When I first read the posts this morning that the head coach, Bud Walpole, of the oddly successful Academic Magnet High School football team had been fired after his players involved in a post-game celebration involving the smashing of watermelons, I knew there had to be more to the story. After all, more than one report hinted that there was some sort of racially offensive component to the post-game shenanigans. However the official statement from Charleston County Schools didn’t offer any further details, only saying:
There was an allegation related to inappropriate post game celebrations by the Academic Magnet High School (AMHS) Football Team. An investigation was conducted and, as a result of the investigation, the head football coach will no longer be serving as a coach for Charleston County School District.
Coach Andrew Rusciolelli will serve as the interim head football coach and Coach Steven Kamp and Coach Gary Weart will be assistants for the two remaining games of the 2014 season.
Now, there is nothing apparently racist about eating watermelons or smashing them for that matter. However, we soon learned that the incident in question took place after the largely white Academic Magnet Raptors defeated the predominately black Garrett Academy Falcons (the school is 96 percent African American). And while there have been some specific allegations out there regarding the watermelon-smashing incident in question, we cannot currently confirm those details.
We have also learned that the CCSD School Board will be meeting later today to be briefed on the investigation that led to Walpole’s firing. The meeting will not be public since it concerns a CCSD personnel matter.
As it stands now, we have more questions than we have answers. However, if the allegations that have been floating around are true, then Academic Magnet has a PR problem on its hands.
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