School officials are investigating complaints about racist comments and “poor sportsmanship” at Thursday second game between East Columbus and North Duplin.
The ECHS Lady Gators took Tuesday’s contest, 9-5, but North Duplin came out swinging Thursday, handing the Gators their first home loss at the Swamp, 12-3. The teams will meet for the final matchup tonight at 6 p.m. at North Duplin to determine who will go to the state championship. The game was pushed up to tonight due to the threat on inclement weather.
Play was stopped at one point due to a North Duplin fan “mocking an Indian sound” behind home plate, according to witnesses. Other insults were made toward another East Columbus player.
Duplin County Schools spokeswoman Christy Johnson said that the incidents are being investigated.
“Upon learning about the poor sportsmanship that took place at a recent sporting event,” Johnson wrote in an email, “Duplin County Schools, in coordination with the N.C. High School Athletic Association and another school district (Columbus) took immediate corrective action.”
Johnson said that federal law and Duplin County Schools’ policies “prohibit discrimination and/or harassment of any kind.
“Reports of such violations are taken very seriously and will be investigated thoroughly. Appropriate actions will be taken against anyone who violates board policy and/or established codes of conduct.”
It was not immediately clear if all the harassment came from players or fans, but witnesses said the home plate comments came from a fan. East Columbus has a large Native American population, and the Waccamaw Siouan tribe has a long history with baseball in the east end of the county.
This is a developing story, and will be updated as more information comes in.