The first female player for a high school football team in Midland, Michigan, was recently met with an extremely racist Instagram post after a game.
Ashton Brooks is a young Black senior in high school who happens to be the starting placekicker for Midland Dow High School. Although Brooks has received much attention for being the first female the Chargers have ever had, she’s gotten more notoriety for being one of the best kickers the team has ever seen.
“She’s a great kicker,” said Dow football coach Jason Watkins. “She’s not our kicker because she’s a girl who can kick. She’s our kicker because she’s the best kicker in the program. And she’s one of the best kickers we’ve had in a long time.”
However, although Brooks has received much respect from her teammates and school, it didn’t stop one teenager from posting an extremely racist picture on Instagram. The actual post has been removed but NY Daily News writer Shaun King tweeted a screenshot of the photo.
The photo is of a white female posing with someone in a gorilla suit. The caption read, “got a pic with dows kicker.”
After the post received viral attention, Midland Public Schools Superintendent Michael E. Sharrow provided a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
The statement read:
“The Board, Superintendent and High School Administrators have thoroughly investigated this incident. The girl who posted the photo and caption is a former MPS student. She last attended MPS in the 2014-15 school year and [is] now college age. We are equally offended and upset that our Schools and Community have been connected to her comments in this matter. The comments made do not reflect the beliefs of our District or Schools in any way.
“During the investigation it was evident that the student in the costume was surprised to learn that this post had been made. He was shocked that some people thought that he was complicit in staging the photo. We believe that based on what we have learned, he was unaware of the post being made and specifically did not know about the girl’s comments until we addressed it with him…
“Midland Public Schools will continue to track this information. We will condemn this type of racism and misuse of social media within our Schools, District and Community.”
Brooks has received much support on her social media accounts from people across the nation. Although the student who posted the photo has not made a comment, the mother of the girl — who was known on Instagram as Molly Muck — spoke to a Michigan news station regarding the incident.
"This poor little girl, I hope she's OK,” Jules Muck told WNEM. “My understanding is that no one is upset with each other, it's the other people who have posted these things creating an invitation to harm my daughter. Is that right? My daughter was stupid and she did the wrong thing. She's sorry for it and she will change. She isn't racist. She doesn't hate.”
In addition to being the star kicker for the football team, Brooks is also on the soccer team and even earned a partial college scholarship to Northwood University.
“I just have this drive to try new things and dare to be different,” Brooks told the Midland Daily News.
(Photo: Ashton Brooks via Instagram)