Two Utah students have been indefinitely suspended from the Kearns High football team after a Snapchat video, which was reportedly taken by one of the athletes, showed someone lighting an LGBTQ Pride flag on fire while another voice could be heard saying, “All gays die,” Fox 13 reported.
The video, which was reportedly posted to Snapchat by a 15-year-old incoming freshman, shows a player lighting the flag on fire while laughing.
Matt Rickards, the team’s head coach, said the video “sickens” him and said the incident could potentially be classified as a hate crime.
“Our number one goal is to build men of character, integrity, be responsible, have empathy for others and serve the community for good. That’s our number one objective,” Rickards said.
“There’s no place for that in our program at all, and it won’t be tolerated,” Rickards added. “It’s potentially a hate crime, so it sickens me.”
The Granite School District told Fox 13 that school officials are still determining the proper punishment for the students, which could include community service or school suspension. The school said they are treating the video as an act of cyberbullying.
“We want to make sure every student who walks through our doors feels safe and secure in the environment that they’re in,” said district spokesman Ben Horsley. “Whether it was done intentionally with a threat in mind or for humor’s sake, it’s inappropriate. And we’re going to address it in a very serious fashion.”
Rickards does not take this issue lightly either.
“We have one rule in our program, and that is not to embarrass yourself, your family or your team,” Rickards continued. “That rule was broken. There’s got to be consequences for that.”