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Police investigate alleged racism and threats against football team

<i>KCCI</i><br/>Theo Evans is Hoover High School football coach.
Theo Evans is Hoover High School football coach.

By Scott Reister, Lauren Johnson

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    COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KCCI) — Des Moines’ Hoover High School football coach claims fans from Council Bluffs’ Thomas Jefferson High School threatened his players and used racial slurs after the game Friday night.

The Des Moines and Council Bluffs school districts are now looking into the incident.

The game was the final game of the season for each team, and Thomas Jefferson beat Hoover, winning their only game of the season.

Thomas Jefferson students poured on the field to celebrate. That’s when the PA announcer saw things get heated.

Video footage of the event shows some commotion on the field. Hoover coach Theo Evans made a Facebook post outlining what was happening on the field during this time.

In the post, Evans said, in part, that the opposing fans were “yelling obscenities, calling my guys racial slurs, throwing things at them, pushing cameras and phones in their faces. They surrounded our team/tried to instigate a brawl. Our guys handled it like men and jogged off the field.”

KCCI spoke with Evans about the incident after school on Monday afternoon.

“And that’s when we started hearing some of the language, some of the derogatory terms, some of the things that were said. We had some guys that got pushed. There were a lot of cameras, phones in kids’ faces, making fun of people. Things were thrown,” Evans said.

KCCI also spoke with some Hoover football players.

“One of our guys got punched in the face. You really don’t see student sections come on the field,” Senior Ben Grear said.

Junior Zay Taylor said the incident was scary.

“It was kind of scary too because what if something bad happened to us? We wouldn’t really have no help or nothing,” Taylor said.

Evans says the harassment didn’t stop on the field. Once the team was ready to leave the locker room and head to their bus, there was another crowd of students waiting on them.

“There was 50 or so students waiting there,” Evans said. “The group between us and the bus was much more aggravated and trying to be violent.”

Evans says at that moment, he was just focused on getting his team onto the bus safely. He commends his athletes for not letting that negativity get to them.

“Let’s get through this, let’s get on the bus, let’s go home and let’s kind of process this and figure out where to go from here,” Evans said.

Council Bluffs Community school district released a statement, reading:

“Our Thomas Jefferson student section was thrilled to celebrate the homecoming win of the football team, and rushed the field before the Hoover football team had exited to the locker room.

“We have addressed the unsportsmanlike behavior of three students who were involved in an exchange with the Hoover football players.

“Our Thomas Jefferson High School administration has reached out to Hoover High School administration to apologize for the post-game exchange.”

DMPS says that Hoover Principal Qynne Kelly will send a report to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, requesting them to look into the incident. The school has gathered statements from players that will be sent off over the next couple of days.

Kelly is asking Jefferson’s principal to keep her posted on what accountability there will be for Friday’s actions and what steps will be made to prevent future incidents.

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