Red River fans apparently dress as Ku Klux Klan for hockey game
A photo appearing to show Grand Forks Red River High School hockey fans dressed in white hoods and robes similar to those of the Ku Klux Klan surfaced on the social media site Twitter on Friday evening.
The photo, taken by UND student Shane Schuster during Red River's state semifinal game against Fargo Davies, shows a section of fans wearing white clothing and white face paint. In the center, three fans wear white robes and pointed hoods.
"I guess the red river highschoolers are racist?" Schuster tweeted with the picture.
Mark Rerick, Grand Forks Public Schools athletic director, and Red River head coach Bill Chase declined to comment on the incident.
As of 11 p.m., the photo had received numerous retweets and comments, most disapproving of the photo.
"I will certainly not be cheering for Red River," tweeted user TVN.
"This makes me so disappointed in my alma mater,"user Tina H-M posted.
"Taking 'white out' to a whole new level," user Amy Stroup tweeted.
Twitter user Megan Knoell also didn't seem happy with the photo, but defended Red River.
"@ShaneSchuster correction: THREE of red rivers students thought it would be funny. just because they did it doesn't mean our school agrees," she tweeted.
The picture received a similar reception on the social media site Facebook.
Fargo Public Schools Athletic Director Todd Olson, who is the former athletic director for Grand Forks Public Schools, did not attend Friday's hockey game, instead he was attending a Davies High basketball game, in which his son played.
Olson said late Friday he had not seen the photo but all-white garb is generally an accepted part of the white-outs.
"To be very honest, I think you're looking for something that is not there," Olson said.
The practice of wearing all-white garb to hockey games is a long tradition, popularized by the NHL's Winnipeg Jets and even UND has adopted the practice in recent years.
Grand Forks Red River hockey players have a tradition of dyeing their hair blond for post-season play since 2000. This year, the hair-bleaching spread to the team's male fans. About 40 high school boys were expected to sport the trend at the state tournament.
Davies Head Coach Brian Davidson said he noticed the white-out dressed fans but had not seen students in hoods.
Davidson said he did not expect any rival teams to dress in a way that could resemble the Ku Klux Klan.
"That's pretty tacky," he said. "No, not in today's days, c'mon."
Davies High School is the namesake of Ronald Davies, the former Fargo-based U.S. District Judge who found himself at the core of the 1957 school integration confrontation in Little Rock, Ark.