Venice and Braden River are two of the most dominant high school football programs in southwest Florida. The two also hold a huge rivalry. Venice is now under fire after a racist tweet by Drue Streich, one of their football players. The tweet was directed at Braden River Head Coach Curt Bradley, who is biracial.
Streitch posted a photo of Nivea self-tanning lotion and tagged Bradley in the tweet saying “Is this what you use?” Venice Head Coach John Peacock, who is white, liked the tweet and this caused Bradley to email the school about Streich and Peacock’s racism.
Bradley’s email including principals of both Venice and Braden River, members of the school board, etc, according to the Herald-Tribune.
As a fellow educator and football coach, I feel it necessary to address some deep concerns that live within your program and within how you shape our young adults of tomorrow. I am all for healthy rivalry and competition, however, as educators and adults who are very influential in the development of young minds, we must be extremely careful to not cross lines.
Encouraging racial jokes and racism among your players, and acknowledging them to be appropriate by publicly or privately “liking” them, is definitely a line in which someone in your position should not tread. Your locker-room comments of “how Coach Bradley uses spray tan to obtain his skin color” had come to my attention a while ago. Although this has been a running joke of yours for some time, it concerns me to see your players use your words on social media, and then you “liking” their post. In case you are unsure as to the tweet I am referring to, please see the attached screen shots of your twitter feed below from the evening of Tuesday 4/17/18.
Because you are so curious, I come from a multi-racial background and am extremely proud of this. My grandparents were on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement. Sadly, they, as well as my parents, lived through many injustices dealt to them from ignorance. I am proud that as a nation we have made great progress in terms of prejudice and intolerance to those different than us, nevertheless I feel it my duty to not remain silent when someone tries to make light of this.
As educators we ethically have a responsibility to first and foremost teach children acceptance, of all people. We also have to acknowledge when we are wrong. I take full responsibility for things I did incorrectly, and by no means is this being addressed due to recent actions. Although we may inevitably disagree as to the appropriate and professional way to handle things, I think we can all agree to the code of ethics that we vow to as educators. In the end, if this email and awareness makes you a better coach and educator, then I have done my job reaching out and helping as many kids as I can. I do hope you ask yourself “when exactly have I taken the sport of football and winning too far?”
It is my understanding that you had been instructed to remove these tweets days ago. While thankfully those have been deleted from social media, it is disturbing to know they will never be erased from the minds of your players and those who read your social media.
Best wishes for your spring season,
Braden River High School
Physical Education Teacher
Head Football Coach
Peacock was fired but quickly tried to play the victim role by saying that Bradley wanted to exploit racial tension.
“I “liked” a tweet that one of my players put on social media about Braden River Head Coach Curt Bradley and a spray tan bottle,” said Peacock. I thought this to be a joke about him using spray tan, I had no clue he was multi–racial. I did not come out publicly to defend myself when this occurred because I was asked not to. Nothing was intended to be racist.”
“I’m appalled at Coach Bradley desperate attempt to exploit today’s racial tension to distract from the disgrace he has brought to his program. This has happened because I was the coach that finally stood up and exposed Coach Bradley for cheating in order to protect the integrity of high school football. I knew this could be an outcome of that decision, and I was willing to accept that. As sad and unfortunate as it is, it was the right thing to do and I would do it again.”
“I would like to thank all the past and current players, coaches, parents and proud supporters of Venice High Football. Venice HS administration will find a solid replacement for this position, as Venice is one of the premier programs in the state of Florida. Once again, thank you to everyone who has been involved. I will always be an Indian!”
It’s evident that Peacock and some of his Venice players have felt this way about minority head coaches for a while now and it’s good to see that the school took initiative and fired him.