PHILADELPHIA – Feb. 3, 2023 – Today, State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) released the following statement in response to racist language and images found in the visiting locker room for the Cheltenham High School boys’ junior varsity and varsity basketball teams in Upper Moreland last month:
“In December 2022, I was made aware that racial epithets against the Cheltenham High School boys’ basketball teams were posted at Upper Moreland High School. In response, I demanded that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) take immediate action to put the Upper Moreland High School boys’ basketball team on probation.
Despite repeated racial attacks against Cheltenham’s sports teams, including the Quakertown incident in 2017, PIAA refuses to take action. PIAA continues to tolerate racial harassment. PIAA’s approach of relying on each school to resolve racial harassment after an incident does nothing to prevent a reoccurrence in the league at another school. Our student athletes continue to face instances of racism in direct violation of PIAA’s 2022-23 sportsmanship standards. PIAA’s inaction is both wholly unacceptable and disgraceful.
PIAA’s repeated dereliction of responsibility cannot be allowed to continue. To maintain support, now is the time for PIAA to stand up and demonstrate its commitment to promoting safe and sportsmanlike competition.”
Commissioner Irv Brockington of Cheltenham Township, shared the following comments in support of Senator Haywood’s position:
“As the Ward 7 Commissioner in Cheltenham Township, a father and coach, I refuse to be silent and patient. Perhaps the PIAA is unaware that we are in the midst of change – change that requires swift and appropriate action. PIAA must take the necessary steps to ensure that our students are given what they deserve – respect and protection from intolerable racism and bigotry. We all have to be courageous and disciplined to make this happen.”
President Eddie Graham of the Cheltenham Area Branch of the NAACP also called for PIAA to hold the Upper Moreland team accountable in the following comments:
“We, as the Cheltenham Area Branch of the NAACP, stand with State Senator Art Haywood in solidarity in response to the most recent racist incident that occurred against the Cheltenham High School basketball team. We are outraged and disgusted by what occurred and fully support the school, and our young athletes, as we navigate through the period of investigation. We stand with Senator Haywood in demanding that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association immediately place Upper Moreland’s boys’ basketball team on probation.”
Today at 7 p.m., the two boys’ varsity basketball teams will play against each other at Cheltenham High School in Wyncote.