A high school football program in Northern California just saw its season vanish due to a racially charged chat between most of its varsity players. The Board of Trustees for the Amador County Unified School District announced on Monday after investigating the ‘disturbing’ group chat.
Based on that investigation, the school district abruptly canceled the team’s season.
“On September 17, 2022, the District suspended the Amador team pending an administrative review of allegations concerning a highly inappropriate group chat threat involving the majority of the varsity football team,” wrote Amador County Superintendent Torie F. Gibson in a letter to parents.
“The scope of the allegations escalated the need for an external investigation by an independent investigator, with some of the allegations being referred to law enforcement. Our initial estimate for this review is predicted to be a minimum of 30 days.”
Amador High School's varsity football season has been canceled amid ongoing investigation into a team group chat with racial undertones.
Game against Rosemont on Sept. 16 was canceled by Amador administration before kickoff when they learned of thread.@sacbee_news story soon…
— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) September 27, 2022
The decision began after a Sept. 17 game between Amador and Rosemont High School was canceled just before kickoff, and the Amador Buffaloes forfeited the contest falling to 0-4 for the season.
Pending an investigation by the Amador County Unified School district, the varsity program was then placed on suspension, which automatically caused the cancellation of practice and games; however, the student-athletes may attend class. Additionally, three members of the Amador staff were placed on administrative leave.
“The District is aware of the chat thread associated with the Amador Varsity Football Program,” ACUSD Superintendent Torie Gibson wrote to the Sacramento Bee.
“The nature of the thread was disturbing, and its content was not in line with the values that we instill in our schools or expect from our student athletes. We ask that the community allow us to go through the full investigative process. Minor students are involved and we wish to keep their right to confidentiality a priority.”
Although the contents of the group chat have not been made available, Rosemont coach John Straw has said that many of his players are Black, stung by speculation of the group chat. Rosemont, of the Sacramento City Unified School District, is 4-1. The team, which is in the city of Sacramento, has used the Amador incident as a reminder of real world issues.
Saw this on TV news last night.
It does appear that players and some coaches at Amador High in Sutter Creek (not Amador Valley of Pleasanton) were in a racist chat thread.
Cancelling a season over that shows how serious that school officials view the words said and who said them. https://t.co/XlPG9h9v6i
— Cal-Hi Sports (@CalHiSports) September 27, 2022
“Spoke to (the team) about how situations like this will define our character. Do we go down to their level or do we take the high road and learn from this and show compassion?” Straw told The Sacramento Bee via text message. “Our kids all responded well, and I feel they have matured from this. The real world isn’t always a pleasant place, but you have to fight for you and what you deserve.”
Amador’s junior varsity team will continue its season.
Amador High opened in 1911 and has a storied football program. Under coach Bill Baker, the Buffaloes reached the State Division 6-AA finals, finishing with a school-record best 14-2 record in 2018. Amador went 10-2 in 2019 but dipped to 0-10 in 2021.
Located in Sutter Creek, California, just outside of Sacramento, Amador is one of two high schools in Amador County. It is a public school serving about 800 students in grades 9-12. It has a variety of notable alumni, including former NFL players Nate Boyer, Mike Burke, Chris Geile, Rick Kane, Greg Kragen, Scott Peters, and Joe Terry.