FOCUSED—Coach Marcus Burkley Sr. with his Wolverine team. (From the Woodland Hills Youth Football and Cheer Association)

FOCUSED—Coach Marcus Burkley Sr. with his Wolverine team. (From the Woodland Hills Youth Football and Cheer Association)

Coach Marcus Burkley Sr. is proud of his Woodland Hills Wolverines midget football players for showing exceptional resilience and focus after fans of the opposing Bethel Park Hawks shouted racial remarks during last week’s game.

“I started playing when I was 5, and I’ve been called names. But all through high school, college and the arena league, this may have been the worst I’ve seen,” he said. “And these are 12- and 13-year-old kids.”

Burkley said the language started from the crowd of Bethel Park parents right after some of his players asked him if they could take a knee during the national anthem before their Oct. 8 game.

“Then a guy shouts, ‘If that little nigger wants to take a knee, he shouldn’t be able to play,’” he said. “And then the players started using the ‘n-word’ too, and it went on and on.”

In addition to the epithets, Burkley said parents were chanting “Hurt number 2” and the public address announcer even got into the act.

“He had the roster,” said Burkley. “But instead of calling our players’ names, he called all our running backs ‘Le’Veon Bell.’”

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