'Ebola!' Chants at HS soccer match lead coaches to resign after violent ending
By RYAN GORMAN
Three suburban Pennsylvania high school soccer coaches are out of a job and several students face disciplinary action for chanting "Ebola" at a West African player during a recent match.
Nazareth Area High School coach Edward Bachert and Northampton High School coach Craig Carvin both resigned after Nazareth player Ibrahim Toumkara was the victim of vile chants in a game between the two schools that ended violently.
Toumkara was thrown out of the game for angrily charging towards at least one player after enduring the taunts during the game.
"They just need to learn how to give other people respect," Ibrahim told WPVI.
Bachert, who is also the Lehigh County Police Chief and the 16-year-old junior's legal guardian, said his adopted son was rightfully upset by the taunting.
"Being from western Africa and having family in that area, he didn't take too kindly to those remarks and went after one of the players on the Northampton team," Bachert told WPVI.
Toumkara left Guinea three years ago with his two younger siblings, but many family members still live in his former village.
"There were tears coming down his eyes. He was visibly shaken by this, that it got to that level on the field."
Guinea borders Liberia. The West African countries are at the epicenter of the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
"I'm really disappointed in the outcome - that things came down to what they did in the end," Nazareth coach Michael Peck told the Lehigh Valley Express-Times.
"That's not really what this is about," Peck continued. "We're out here to work hard and play the game. It's not about playing ugly soccer, fouling a bunch.
Things got really dirty, they got really ugly," Peck lamented. "It's unfortunate because we just want to see the kids play. We want a good, fair game."
One of Peck's assistant coaches also resigned, he added.
A Northampton district official told the Allentown Morning Call that an investigation into students' actions has been completed.
"The administration has conducted a thorough investigation throughout the entire day and appropriate discipline will be dispensed to any students who violated the code of conduct," said Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik.
School regulations prohibit the details of the punishments meted out from becoming public.
Nazareth students who spoke to the Morning Call were less than impressed with their rivals' antics.
"I thought it was very rude and I don't think it was necessary," said junior Josephine McNally.
Another student, Sam Borick, said: "I don't have any words that truly describe what the kid from Northampton, and the Northampton team in general, even the disrespect shown from their coaches toward our player ... is just an unacceptable combination."
Northampton players reportedly high-fived each other after Toumkara was sent off the field.
'They should have to apologize," said sophomore Marissa Plows.
Toumkara's teammates are selling #EndRacism bracelets in the school to support him.
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