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News / Sports / Prep Sports

High school baseball teams take stand against discrimination

Display by Skyview, Battle Ground follows recent allegations involving Camas

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 25, 2022, 10:01pm
5 Photos
Players from the Battle Ground and Skyview baseball teams stand arm in arm in a show against discrimination prior to their game at Propstra Stadium on Monday.
Players from the Battle Ground and Skyview baseball teams stand arm in arm in a show against discrimination prior to their game at Propstra Stadium on Monday. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A show of unity. A show of support.

Battle Ground and Skyview baseball players and coaches came together before the first pitch of Monday’s 4A Greater St. Helens League game to take stand on recent alleged discriminatory events.

Players and coaches linked arms in front of home plate at Propstra Stadium, and in unison, said, “Together, we stand against discrimination.”

The player-led pregame remarks came one day after Skyview head coach Seth Johnson released a personal statement about an incident last Wednesday where Camas baseball players allegedly used racist language toward one of Skyview’s players, who is Black, during a junior-varsity game between the two schools.

Last Thursday’s scheduled varsity game between Skyview and Camas was postponed as a result.

Last week’s incident, which has been reported to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, is being investigated jointly between the two districts. Camas School District spokesperson Doreen McKercher said both schools’ principals, athletic directors and Camas and Vancouver superintendents are “working together to determine exactly what happened as well as what moving forward will look like.”

Johnson’s statement, which he posted on Twitter on Sunday, urges those players who allegedly used racial slurs be held accountable.

“Over the past few days with my interactions with Camas, at times I have not felt comfortable with where the investigation is heading. They have taken a stance that numerous words overheard by some Skyview players only rhymed with the “N-word” and the sounds coming out of their dugout throughout the game were instead “Seal” noises.”

Johnson made clear his statement was his personal opinion and outside the purview of Vancouver Public Schools. He wrote it because “I sincerely believe deep in the core of my being that this is the right thing to do.”

“Over the past year and a half, Vancouver Public Schools has provided equity and diversity training,” Johnson wrote. “In these training sessions I have learned a great deal of valuable information that I will use for the rest of my life. Situational awareness and the impact of people’s language and actions are at the cornerstone of some of these sessions. Analyzing the incident at hand, I feel the individuals involved in this incident lacked situational awareness and empathy. Specifically with the impact of those individuals’ words and actions concerning a black player on our team and black people in general.

“I believe there has been little accountability of the individual players’ involvement in this incident, and the accountability falls directly on the Camas Baseball Coaching Staff, the Camas High School Athletic Department and Camas High School as a whole.”