Eight wrestlers from the Phillipsburg High School wrestling team are in the middle of a firestorm after a picture of them hanging a wrestling dummy went viral.
In the picture you see seven teenage wrestlers posing by a hanging dummy that is dressed up like their rival Paulsboro High School. Some of the wrestlers also seem to be wearing cone-like hoods on their head.
The group issued a statement through their attorney and claimed that there was nothing racial about the picture.
“It is our understanding that the dummies are manufactured in only dark leather. In outfitting the wrestling dummy we did not give any thought to the physical appearance of the dummy as anything other than an unidentified generic wrestler,” Attorney Scott Wilhelm read.
The statement also suggested that these young-men feel like they are the ones who are being treated harshly regarding this situation. These eight wrestlers have been suspended from competing in their upcoming wrestling championship.
Local NAACP President Charles Boddy said that he thinks the punishment for the young people is appropriate, but he wants to know if any adults were aware of what took place.
This incident has now been referred to the Division of Civil Rights who is looking into whether or not this is ethnic intimidation. While most experts claim that this situation is clearly racially offensive, they would need to prove whether or not the reason behind the photo was to intimidate somebody before any charges could be filed against the wrestlers.Watch Chasing New Jersey weeknights at 10pm on My9 and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!