Joint Letter Addresses Mansfield-Ashland Football Incident

  • 10/16/2018 11:21:05 AM
  • Sartaj Singh
  • Local News

ASHLAND, MANSFIELD, OH - A joint letter has been issued by the superintendents of Mansfield and Ashland City Schools dated October 15th, 2018.

The letter is referencing the perceived racist incident that took place at the Football game between Ashland and Mansfield Senior on October 5th of 2018.

At the football game, bananas were found in the visitor's locker room. The Mansfield Tygers Football twitter stated that fans were wearing banana suits in the stands and were using racial slurs.

The letter reads as follows:

"To Our Communities: 

Recently a meeting was held by representatives of both school districts to discuss the events that took place on Friday, October 5th at Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio, and how both communities and the Ohio Cardinal Conference could move forward. We resolved from this meeting the following:

  • We need to compete on the field during athletic contests and work together as league members to assure our student athletes are contributing members of their communities, both on and off the field. 
  • Both districts are committed to improving our students' cultural sensitivity.
  • The Ohio Cardinal Conference league is educating each district's coaching staff on all aspects of cultural sensitivity. 
  • Both sides agreed as we move forward that communication is key to our success.
  • We agree that when someone is offended we will listen and address their concerns in a timely manner.
  • The Ashland City School District will work with Mr. Warren Jones and Mansfield City School District will continue to use Significance, LLC to assist and coordinate cultural diversity and sensitivity training for school employees and students.

Signed, Mr. Brian Garverick and Dr. Douglas J. Marrah"

After the game, Ashland High School's Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Jason D. Goings released the following statement:

"In response to the events of last night, and any misunderstanding that occurred, concerning the Ashland vs. Mansfield Senior football game we want to offer our sincere apologies once again to the community of Mansfield, the Administration, Coaches, Parents, and most of all the players. What we thought was a gesture of kindness was understandably not perceived as so. For quite some time now (upwards of 20 years) our Cross County team has held Banana Fridays in preparation for their races the next day. Any remaining fruit not consumed by the cross country team was left in the visiting locker room which the Cross County team uses during the week. Here is a quote from my XC Coach explaining "We leave a box of whatever is left in the locker room each week in hopes that the football team will eat them if they like, so as to hopefully not waste them. I don't even know who the football team plays week to week" Once alerted to concerns about this incident the administration immediately took action and explained that this was a tradition and there was no malice intended. The administration apologized to as many coaches as we could before kick-off to the game. There was also an allegation that Ashland students were wearing blackface. This is untrue. Our student theme for the game was costume night and there were students dressed in a variety of costumes including various food items. We are rivals on the field of play and that is all. When Ashland plays Mansfield Senior it is always a good game and we win some and they win some. Their players came ready to play last night and that is just a testament to the outstanding coaches and players they have in their program. Their game winning 78 yard drive to win the game last night is just one example of the resiliency of these players. I have deep ties to Mansfield area being a graduate of Mansfield Senior and served the community there for 16 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator. I am deeply and emotionally tied to the students and faculty of the Mansfield School system and that this gesture by our cross county team has been taken out of context hurts me on a personal level. I have family on the current Senior High football team and want nothing but the best for all of them. There was no intent to send any message other than good sportsmanship. If the act was not perceived as such, we again apologize."

- Jason D. Goings, M.Ed
Assistant Principal/Athletic Director
Ashland High School

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