‘It Was Planned Only For Two Black Kids To Be Left Behind’ | Racist Messages By Assistant Coach Leads To Division, Disintegration Of Fort Myers HS Baseball Team

Fort Myers High School assistant baseball coach Alex Carcioppolo sent a message to the team group chat that said, “Happy Valentines Day,” followed by a racial slur. The racial slur is derogatory to Black people. The school fired Carcioppolo in February, removed head coach Kyle Burchfield earlier this month, and has made the decision to cancel the rest of the baseball season.

“After meeting with every varsity baseball family and evaluating our options for the rest of the season, I must inform you that I have made the decision to cancel the rest of our baseball regular season and district play,” wrote Principal Robert Butz in an email. “This was not an easy decision to make, but the current status of our team and coaching staff does not provide a viable path forward for the remainder of the season.”

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According to Maddie Baron, sister of one of the players, that was the day he “lost all respect for Fort Myers” upon seeing that text from his assistant coach.

When Carcioppolo was fired in February, Fort Myers athletics director Steve Cato sent an email to the baseball parents advising that a Title VI investigation has been opened regarding the team.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Division Along Racial Lines

After two months of this investigation, Fort Myers head coach Kyle Burchfield was removed from his position on Wednesday, April 5. 

The firing of Burchfield did affect the team and caused an uproar within the baseball program, which spilled over into the families and parents of the players going against each other. 

Their next game took place just hours after Burchfield was removed from his position as head coach, and it led to parents fighting, arguing, and shouting at each other during the game. The whole situation had to be contained and de-escalated by local law enforcement.

Burchfield’s firing led to a walkout by some of the white team members on April 6 in a game against Estero High at Terry Park that resulted in the Green Wave forfeiting.

The walkout caused division among the parents of the athletes along racial lines, according to reports.

“Not one Black team member was told about the walkout. So they weren’t able to participate,” Dee Tucker, the parent of a player told WINK. “It was planned only for two Black kids to be left behind. This is 100% premeditated and malicious.”

“This has left me to question the ethics and behavior by peers and adults witnessed by impressionable young men,” said Shane Riley, the parent of one of two Black players on the team, to WINK.

“It was planned only for two Black kids to be left behind.”

Cato sent a report to the FHSAA advising them of the situation with the team.

“We are still trying to identify all of the players and coaches involved,” Cato wrote to the FHSAA. “We did have 5-6 players who remained on the field and in the dugout to play the game, but without enough to continue we had to forfeit the game.”

All too often the adults placed in charge of the welfare of young athletes are not all we would like them to be.

Some are immature, some racist, some sexist, some abusive, some lack the EQ to work with youth and create a space that’s safe and allows them to thrive.

As a society that purportedly cares about its future, we owe it to our young students and athletes to give them every opportunity to succeed. The only way that happens is by having the best leaders and genuine adults committed to the cause.


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