A high school ended its football season after a racist chat. Anger and rumors ensued

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The stadium lights blazed onto the brand new turf and the varsity football players braced themselves for the struggles and triumphs of the game ahead.

Then, just moments before the match between Amador High, a mostly white school perched in the foothills southeast of Sacramento, and Rosemont High, a largely Black and Latino school tucked into the city’s industrial eastern fringe, Amador officials abruptly called it off. Everyone would have to leave. And to make sure they departed safely, the police department in the bucolic tourist town of Sutter Creek had called in reinforcements from the Amador County sheriff’s department and other agencies.

As shaken parents and kids made their way home, rumors swept both communities that an ugly act of racism had triggered the extraordinary action — something so serious that school officials in this conservative community felt compelled to respond strongly.

That aborted game on Sept. 16 marked the sudden end of the Amador High School football season — a shocker in a community where high school football games are the social event of the week. In the following days, the district’s superintendent, Torie Gibson, announced that she had placed three staff members on leave and alerted law enforcement of some allegations from a “disturbing” chat thread involving a majority of the football team. She noted that officials are “very limited in what can be shared with the public.”

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