NiJhay Burt is the star running back for Steel Valley, a high school in western Pennsylvania.
Burt reportedly was intentionally hurt by his white opponents from South Side Area High School in a game on Nov. 12.
After being tackled by the South Side Area defense, a player began twisting Burt’s ankle while he was at the bottom of the pile.
The subsequent injury will sideline Burt for the rest of the season. Per his dad, the ankle is broken, and he believes the injury was done intentionally, fueled by racial undertones.
He told local area news station KDKA the following:
“While on the ground, someone was twisting his ankle and after they were twisting at his ankle, they stood up saying racial things in his face.”
Racial Slurs Being Spewed By The South Side Area Team
Per reports, there were also racial slurs being directed at the Steel Valley running back and his team throughout the game.
The belief is that Burt was targeted because not only was he Black, but also because he has elite talent and ability.
Burt demolished the competition this season, running for over 2,000 yards and 35 touchdowns before being robbed of the remainder of his season.
He was surely the focal point of the opponent’s defense. A defense that decided to use the “if you can’t stop him, hurt him” tactic that seasoned football coaches have seen plenty of.
It’s unfortunate that a team feels the need to stoop to such classless tactics to win a game, but it’s a lot more prevalent than reported in football, where bodies are constantly colliding and intertwined.
Some crazy encounters happen at the bottom of those human piles.
School Administration Has Looked Into Incident
Each school district and the WPIAL board reviewed information submitted on the incident. Now they must determine if there were indeed racial attacks and dirty or unsportsmanlike behavior during the game.
Steel Valley Superintendent Edward Weher said the following:
“I want to state emphatically that racism has no place in interscholastic athletics, nor should it be tolerated in any part of our society. We are extremely proud of our diversity and heritage at Steel Valley, and Friday night did nothing to change that.”
Lets be honest. Why would Burt’s team have to make up such a story?
There should’ve been ejections and penalties levied against the offending team.
Bush league tactics have no place in sports.
Mac Jones Twist Brian Burns Ankle After Play
Haason Reddick on Mac Jones’ ankle twist on Brian Burns: “I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully it’s something the league addresses.”
— Joe Person (@josephperson) November 7, 2021
Two weeks ago in an NFL game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, Patriots QB Mac Jones was guilty of this very thing.
This is not calling him racist or saying his grabbing and twisting Burns’ ankle after a sack and fumble is a racially motivated move.
#Panthers pass-rusher Brian Burns says it would be nice if Mac Jones apologized for grabbing his ankle on Sunday, but he doesn’t expect it to happen. “I would just like to play them again. I wish all my fellow D-end brothers happy hunting.” pic.twitter.com/V3iQc8YBJY
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 10, 2021
But the way the NFL and his coach came to his defense just reminded us of how white privilege works. Jones wasn’t fined or suspended for what looked like a blatant non-football play.
Pats coach Bill Belichick said this on WEEI, as a guest on “The Greg Hill Show”:
“I think Jones thought Burns has the ball.”
What do you think of this play by Mac Jones? 🤔
You can see he twists Brian Burns' ankle…
But Mac said it was because he thought he had the ball.
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) November 8, 2021
The reader can be the judge, but from the looks of the video it looked nothing like that. Burns was also injured on the dirty play.
It’s perhaps not coincidental that a few weeks later a similar incident occurred on the high school level and cost a standout athlete his health.