Another national controversy involving America’s favorite sports team has made its way to Florida.
Keshia Washington is a single mother of two who lives in Daytona Beach, where her daughter plays basketball for Edgewater High School. For the past five years, she has volunteered for the school’s cheerleading team, teaching the younger girls how to cheer on game days. During one of those fundraisers, Washington decided to bring her daughter with her. However, the 6-year-old was barred from participating in the practices and all of the games at the end of last school year due to an off-color tweet made by the school’s official account.
On Feb. 20, the tweet was prompted by a Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles and included a GIF featuring middle-aged men resembling the group Drunk Uncle. “How about throwing back that snow job and heading to the #FlyEaglesFly #FlyEaglesFly #Philly #SuperBowlLII,” the tweet read.
According to Washington, she immediately notified the school’s administration that she had brought her daughter to the games. This led to the creation of a sort of fly swatting brigade, as her Twitter account was swamped with abuse from people including other parents, the school’s football coach and even the principal. This, as it turned out, was all a big misunderstanding, and there was no intention to discriminate.
It wasn’t until the following spring that the school finally recognized the mom’s involvement with the cheerleading team and appointed her as a head coach, changing its official account from “only fans.” Still, it is impossible to see how the idea that an 8-year-old girl’s participation in a high school athletics team was in any way an unwelcome or inauthentic presence at the games and practices, regardless of the amount of time that Washington had to inform the school beforehand, did not spark the ire of the neighborhood Twitter community.
Nevertheless, the school will not allow Washington to return as a volunteer, citing not only the rule about only fans but her decision to include her daughter in the cheerleading competition.
All very confusing, but apparently it wasn’t enough for the administrator of the Twitter account to apologize for the insult directed at the #PhillyHOF, or else they won’t let the parents coach. — Bill Boardman (@dpiya) May 27, 2018
Washington claims the school was simply following their own rules.
“It’s not that we’re bad people. I think I did everything the school wanted me to,” she told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “I think I shouldn’t have to tell them, when I’m the only person not following policy.”