Whitworth Suspends Five Players for Women’s Soccer Season Opener - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Suspends Five Players for Women’s Soccer Season Opener After Controversial Photo Surfaces

This photo was posted by a student on social media following a party Monday night. This photo was posted by a student on social media following a party Monday night.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Whitworth announced Wednesday the one-game suspension of five soccer players after a photo was posted to social media of the women dressed up in "black face." 

A student at Whitworth University posted the controversial photo on Instagram and Facebook showing members of the women's soccer team dressed up as the Jackson 5, wearing black face and afro wigs. The party wasn't associated with the university, but Whitworth posted a statement on Facebook Tuesday:

The actions of Whitworth’s students always reflect upon the university, whether taken in conjunction with Whitworth-sponsored events or outside of sponsored events. In response to an off-campus, unsanctioned Whitworth social event held last evening, a small group of student-athletes dressed up as the singing group, The Jackson 5, appearing in blackface and wearing afro wigs. In response to this incident, please read Chief Diversity Officer (and VP for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) Larry Burnley’s remarks to our campus community."

A release on Wednesday stated the five players were suspended from Wednesday afternoon's game against Carleton College by Head Coach Jael Hagerott. 

READ: Whitworth students apologize for controversial photo

“In light of the impact that these actions have had on Whitworth and the greater Spokane community, we feel it is in the best interest of all involved to take this action at this time,” Hagerott said.  “While their intentions were not malicious, the outcome of their actions was painful for many in our community.  We feel that this punitive response is proportional to their actions.”

Whitworth says they support Hagerott's decision. No further punitive action is planned from the athletics department, however Whitworth's normal student-conduct process will continue to move forward according to the university. 

“As a Christ-centered university that believes in the value of all individuals, we are seeking to use this situation as an opportunity to educate, redeem and restore,” said Whitworth Director of Athletics Tim Demant.

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