SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Following an on-field brawl that took place against Watertown last week, Public Service Leadership Academy (PSLA) at Fowler football team has planned to forfeit this week’s game.
This comes after a fight that took place during the second quarter of last Friday night’s game at Watertown, where there was alleged use of racial slurs on the field.
School officials told NewsChannel 9 Tuesday that the team has forfeited this weeks Section III Class A2 play-in game against Nottingham. However, the Syracuse City School District confirmed Wednesday that they will still have a chance to play at possible crossover games.
“They will not be able to play in the playoffs but they will finish their season with crossover games. Teams that do not make the playoffs are allowed to continue to play these crossover games,” said Michael Henesey, the district’s public information officer.
In a statement to NewsChannel 9, Jolene Todd PSLA at Fowler supervisor of athletics said:
I want to start by saying that I am very disappointed in our team and their reaction to the Watertown team and fans during Friday nights game.
We do not condone that type of behavior and our student athletes will be held accountable.
There was what I would consider and unhealthy amount of taunting and poor sportsmanship coming my players way before the game even started and certainly throughout the first half.
But, no matter what is said or done on the field during a game or before it or even after it, it is never ok to respond the way our players did but make no mistake about it they are not alone in this.
They were pushed to the brink and unfortunately responded.
I want to point out that this group of young men on my team have been finalist for the New York State Association of Certified Football Officials Francis J. Clark sportsmanship award for two consecutive years.
We preach to our players about playing hard but playing the right way and being respectful of your opponent and coaches as well as the referees and I think winning that award two years running speaks to the fact that my players do just that.
Again, very disappointed in their response to an adverse situation but our team and our players will be held accountable.Jolene Todd, supervisor of athletics at PSLA at Fowler
On Wednesday, Watertown’s Superintendent Dr. Larry Schmiegel confirmed that the Watertown football game has officially been rescheduled to Saturday, Oct. 21. Then on Thursday, Dr. Schmiegel sent the following statement about the districts ongoing efforts since the incident last Friday.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your continued interest in addressing the incident that occurred during last Friday night’s football game. Open and transparent communication is vital, and I am pleased to offer an update on our ongoing efforts. Throughout this process, both school districts have maintained close communication, working collaboratively to address the conduct of the students involved in the incident.
Moreover, allegations of the use of racial slurs are contrary to the goals and mission of the Watertown City School District and continue to be investigated. Any incident that is founded will be promptly addressed pursuant to the District’s Code of Conduct. This is an ongoing investigation, and we are not able to comment further.
The Watertown City School district is, however, fully committed to providing an environment that is free of harassment or intimidation for our student athletes as well as all visiting athletes and spectators. Our primary objective at this stage is to create a supportive environment that fosters healing and reconciliation. We are dedicated to helping both communities move forward constructively, keeping the well-being and safety of all individuals at the forefront of our priorities.
Your continued support and interest in helping us achieve a resolution that promotes healing and unity are deeply appreciated.Dr. Larry Schmiegel, Watertown’s Superintendent
Dr. Schmiegel also said both schools are working to address the conduct of the students involved in the incident.