Eight members of Philipsburg High School’s wrestling team in New Jersey have been suspended after a photo of the team posing with a simulated lynching surfaced.
The defendants say the picture was supposed to show school spirit, as the team is days away from a state tournament.
In a prepared statement, Scott Wilhelm said the Philipsburg High School students didn’t think what they were doing could be seen as insensitive and they were sorry for offending anyone. The boys sat at a table while the statement was read, but didn’t comment.
The photo features seven of the wrestlers apparently simulating a lynching of a black wrestling dummy in a rival team’s shirt.
“We did not intend to disparage anyone,” the boys’ lawyer said. “We are truly sorry for any harm we may have caused.”
The wrestling dummy in the photo is used in daily practices and as far as officials know, is only manufactured in dark leather.
Philipsburg school officials said Thursday that they take the case seriously and “took the necessary actions to hold accountable those involved.” No word on what punishments the students will face.
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