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A winning high school American football coach was fired after the team’s tradition of eating watermelon after games was branded ‘inappropriate’ and ‘racist’.
Bud Walpole, who coaches the Academic Magnet Raptors football team in Charlotte, North Carolina, was enjoying one of his most successful seasons in his 10-year tenure as head coach.
But Mr Walpole was relieved of his duties after the team’s post-win celebration – smashing a watermelon and eating it – was deemed ‘racist’ by opposing team parents.
‘The whole thing began when the football team started celebrating victories by smashing a watermelon and cheering in a circle to celebrate a hard-fought win,’ said a student, who emailed WCIV-TV.
‘This was seen by a [Charleston County School District] official who deemed the act to be racist.’
A current Raptors player told National Review that the unusual tradition began when the team impulsively bought some watermelons from a street vendor en route to a game, saying that they would only eat it if they won.
But the tradition has had to come to an end after one opposing parent alleged that to stand in a circle, smash a watermelon and eat it was discriminatory because the ‘animalistic, monkey-like’ whooping they made had racial undertones.
After a rigorous investigation, team members all denied the celebration was racist.
Mr Walpole was reinstated after a petition by parents and players.