The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association is putting its member schools on notice this week with a warning that racial slurs will not be tolerated.
WIAA said that racist slurs have become more common at sporting events and the governing body wanted to ensure that it has spoked loud and clear: No one should be uttering racist comments about athletes or fans.
"We've had several instances throughout the year where an accusation has been brought to our attention," Dr. Wade Labecki, deputy director of WIAA, told the Steven’s Point ABC affiliate.
Just this week, new broke of separate incidents involving racial slurs being used at two Wisconsin high schools — Brown Deer and Wauwatosa East.
"Nobody should have to be subject to that," Wauwatosa School District Superintendent Phil Ertl said.
Ahead of this weekend's high school football playoff games, the WIAA sent a message to all superintendents and athletic directors.
"It seems that derogatory comments, including racially-insensitive comments, have become more common,” the statement reads. “Any type of comments that reflect racial insensitivity are unacceptable at any time or in any place, especially within interscholastic competition and at our interscholastic competition contests. This unsportsmanlike conduct must be addressed immediately, and it must be stopped."
The WIAA has empowered officials to act if they hear a racial slur. Officials can now stop the game and flag the guilty team for unsportsmanlike conduct. If the comment comes from the stands, they can ask the district to discipline the fans or students.