Florida High School Baseball Team in Racist Text Scandal Has Season Canceled After Walkout
“After meeting with every varsity baseball family and evaluating our options for the rest of the season, I must inform you that I have made the decision to cancel the rest of our baseball regular season and district play,” Fort Myers High School Robert Butz wrote in an email to parents, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
“This was not an easy decision to make, but the current status of our team and coaching staff does not provide a viable path forward for the remainder of the season.”
Butz’s decision ends a season that featured tumult early on.
On February 14 Alex Carcioppolo, Fort Myers assistant baseball coach, posted a text message to the team group chat wishing the players a “Happy Valentine’s Day.” In the text, he ended the message with a racial slur.
After the message was discovered, Carcioppolo was removed from the school on February 16. On March 8, Fort Myers athletic director Steve Cato sent an email to the players’ parents that that a Title VI investigation had been opened regarding the team.
Fourth-year head coach Kyle Burchfield was terminated on April 5. No cause was given by the district, and members of the baseball team staged a walkout during its game against Estero High on April 6.
Fort Myers High School was fined $500 for unsportsmanlike conduct after Cato self-reported the incident.
In his report to the Florida High School Athletic Association, Cato said the players walked out of their dugout and left due to an “ongoing situation within the baseball program.”
“We are still trying to identify all of the players and coaches involved,” Cato wrote to the FHSAA. “We did have 5-6 players who remained on the field and in the dugout to play the game, but without enough to continue we had to forfeit the game.”