If it's possible for a story about a racial slur spray painted on the side of a young football player's house to get any worse, it might have just happened in Lunenburg, Mass.
The story of Andrea Brazier discovering, "Knights don’t need n------," spray painted in blue on the side of her home on Nov. 15 made national news, including here at Prep Rally. Her son Isaac Phillips was an eighth-grader in the Lunenburg school system and played football for the Blue Knights' freshman and junior varsity teams.
In interviews with the Boston Herald and Worcester Telegram, Phillips suggested his teammates may have been responsible. His father Anthony Phillips told the media his son had also been the victim of multiple bullying incidents, called for the coaches' jobs and accused the school's administration of covering up a widespread racism problem. Isaac Phillips' mother is white and his father is black.
Meanwhile, Lunenburg superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes announced an investigation into the incident in coordination with local police, state police, the district attorney's office and the FBI. She also confirmed to reporters the investigation into two separate incidents at football games between Lunenburg and Worcester (Mass.) South High Community School, including a JV contest that ended four minutes early after a Blue Knights player allegedly used the same racial slur that was spray painted on the side of Phillips' home.
Even Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick called a press conference about the incident.
"First of all it's disgusting," the Governor announced. "I don't believe it is who the people of Lunenburg are. I don't think it is who the people of the Commonwealth are. I have spoken with the superintendent. I have reached out to the family. I haven't connected with the family, but I hope all of the people of the immediate community and around the Commonwealth will rally around this family and send them their support and remind them what I know to be true, that we are better than this."
Indeed, hundreds of Lunenburg residents -- including the school's administration as well as the Phillips family and other members of the football team -- gathered on the town common for a vigil to condemn the racial slurs and promote tolerance.
And while authorities were careful not to implicate anyone in the early part of their investigation, the cancelation of Lunenburg's final two football games, including the annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry against Fitchburg (Mass.) St. Bernard's High, seemed to suggest members of the football program were somehow involved.
Now, here's where this story potentially goes from worse to worst. Isaac Phillips' mother, Andrea Brazier, is reportedly "a strong suspect" in the spray painting case, according to court records obtained by the Boston Globe and the paper's police sources.
The FBI questioned Brazier on Nov. 25, and while she told authorities that her son and husband were in no way responsible for the racial slur, she did not defend herself as adamantly, according to the Globe. Police searched the home on Tuesday and reportedly left with two cans of spray paint.
The family was not cooperative with the police, according to NECN, and the Globe reported that Anthony Phillips offered three different explanations of why a pair of burnt aerosol cans were seen in a fire pit in the family's yard on the Monday after the incident.
Isaac Phillips has since transferred to a school in a neighboring town, but this latest news has the people of Lunenburg demanding answers. After all, the football team forfeited its final two games, two towns missed out on their annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game and the administration has shown no inclination of rescheduling either contest.
As Blue Knights captain Danny Szabady told NECN, "I feel like we were cheated, but hopefully they can figure this out, and we can get all of this sorted out and we can go back to living a normal life here in Lunenburg."
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- Society & Culture
- Isaac Phillips
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