‘It had to be taught’: Parents say racial slurs have made youth football season hateful

Youth football controversy in northern KY

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Parents are upset after a youth league football game got dirty, both physically and verbally.

The Bengal Tigers is a team within the Northern Kentucky Youth Football League (NKYFL) and the players are mostly 11 and 12-year-old kids. Letisha Collins says her son has been a part of the league for years.

“What I love about the Bengal Tigers is that we are a family but this year has not been like that. We as a team feel like outsiders,” she said.

Collins spoke to FOX19 while surrounded by a group of mothers sharing her concerns. She says they feel angry and emotional.

"It’s supposed to be about the boys but it’s been about their color, where you come from and that’s not what this is about,” said Collins, whose 11-year-old son plays for the Tigers.

Despite love for the game, Collins says it’s been a hateful season. She says rival team, the Campbell County Red Devils used racial slurs against the Bengal Tigers.

“The N word, saying to go back where you came from, monkey, ghetto, trash," said Collins. "And unfortunately the parents were saying it too."

Collins says her son was also physically hurt during the last game against the Red Devils.

“A kid was punching my son and my son still had his helmet on so whatever he felt that day that little boy that punching my son it had to be taught,” said Collins.

FOX19 reached out to the Red Devils director and some parents but haven’t heard back. So, we reached out to the top guy for the league, board president Rick Buckler. He e-mailed the following statement:

“The NKYFL is aware of the accusations of kids using racial slurs at the game between the Campbell county red Devils and the Bengal tigers. The matter was actually brought to our attention first by the Red Devils organization. After looking Into the matter it appears that both sides are accusing the other side of using racial slurs. We had a long discussion on the fact that there is no room in the NKYFL for this type of behavior. We went on to discuss how we as an organization can help to prevent this from happening again. I feel that this was an isolated incident with in our league and it has been addressed.”

Parents of the Bengal Tigers say that's not true and that racism in the league has existed for years, but this year has been the worst.

“No one is better than anyone and if you believe that stay in your world, get you an island ... we all bleed the same color so it needs to be about the kids if that’s what it’s about,” said Collins.

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