The remainder of the football season at Sayreville War Memorial High School in Sayreville, NJ was effectively cancelled this week after details of the football team’s shocking locker room hazing rituals were reported to police by an anonymous tipster.
The Star-Ledger confirmed details of the rituals, which a parent says “happened almost every day”:
It would start with a howling noise from a senior football player…and then the locker room lights were abruptly shut off.
In the darkness, a freshman football player would be pinned to the locker room floor, his arms and feet held down by multiple upperclassmen. Then, the victim would be lifted to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes, the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player’s mouth.
The allegations have since been confirmed by the parents of a freshman child who was subjected to the ritual, and has sparked a criminal investigation with Sayreville police.
Though police have only questioned suspected aggressors and victims, Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe announced the police had collected enough “credible and substantial evidence” to suggest the allegations were true, which was enough to cancel the remainder of the season.
He described the rituals as “incidences of harassment, intimidation and bullying as constituted by the definition within the anti-bullying statute that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated, and in general accepted.”
The behavior of athletes in the locker room and further off field has come under scrutiny lately, thanks to TMZ’s efforts to crack down on jock privilege and the unnecessarily sexual coverage of Michael Sam‘s drafting into the NFL.
In February, the NFL launched an independent investigation that exposed homophobia and harassment in the Miami Dolphins locker room, which lead to mandated sensitivity training. In July, an Ohio State University marching band director was fired after similar homophobic hazing rituals were found to be commonplace among band members.
But surprisingly, this community seems more outraged by the cancellation of the football season and have protested the decision with the board of education.
One parent of a teen interviewed by police accused coaches of failing to address the situation. He told the board of education he could not “understand how none of the coaches were aware of it. As a coach, you know what’s going on it your clubhouse. You know what’s going on in the locker room.”
Watch Dr. Richard Labbe’s confirmation statement below: