WPIAL investigates slurs in 2-hour hearing with Allderdice, Connellsville; decision Tuesday

Monday, October 21, 2019 | 8:14 PM

The WPIAL board of directors, investigating allegations of racial and anti-gay slurs, heard more than two hours of testimony Monday night from boys soccer players, coaches and administrators representing Allderdice and Connellsville.

The board reached a decision, but those findings and possible discipline won’t be announced until 10 a.m. Tuesday, WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said.

“We’re trying to get this right,” he said.

The allegations stem from a Sept. 1 nonsection match during a kickoff tournament in Belle Vernon.

Administrators from the two schools initially tried to resolve the issue themselves with guidance from the WPIAL. The accusations became public when more than 30 Allderdice parents signed a letter attached to a Change.org petition entitled “Confront Racism in Western Pennsylvania.”

The letter says “Connellsville players goaded one Black and one Latino member of the Allderdice team with racial slurs.” It also contends that Connellsville players “utilized forms of physical touching likely intended to distract and intimidate.”

Connellsville’s administration in a statement alleged that Allderdice players directed homophobic comments toward a Connellsville player.

In Monday’s closed-door hearing at the DoubleTree in Green Tree, the WPIAL heard from approximately 10 witnesses, O’Malley said.

“I want to see Connellsville take accountability,” said Allderdice coach Sam Bellin, one of the witnesses who testified Monday, “meaning that their principal and athletic director send us a written apology accepting what their players did. And I want the players who racially abused our players to give a sincere personal apology to the players they abused.”

Connellsville’s administrators were unavailable for comment. Messages left for superintendent Joseph Bradley and athletic director Rich Evans weren’t immediate returned.

This was the second time in two years that the Connellsville boys soccer team was called to Green Tree to face similar accusations. The WPIAL held a hearing last September when Penn Hills accused Connellsville of making racial slurs.

After that investigation, the WPIAL board found the testimony of the Penn Hills players credible and believed it was “likely that at least some racial slurs or racially insensitive comments were directed to a Penn Hills player or players.”

The WPIAL required Connellsville to train its athletes regarding racial and cultural sensitivities.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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