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MSU student’s Instagram post about black high school football kicker generates controversy

Posted at 2:44 AM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 02:44:46-04

MIDLAND, Mich.  — An Instagram post that many have interpreted as racist appears to mock a Mid-Michigan football player and has gone viral.

Now the mother of the young woman who made that post has commented on the issue.

The photo shows a young white woman hugging someone in a gorilla suit. The photo was posted to the girl’s Instagram page with the caption, “got a pic with dows kicker ;).”

Ashton Brooks is the star senior kicker for the Midland Dow Chargers.

The post was made after Friday night’s rivalry football game between Midland High School and Midland Dow.

The post was tweeted by Shaun King, justice writer for the New York Daily News, after he captured a screenshot of the post. The original post has since been deleted.

Brooks is receiving a lot of support on her Facebook page since the incident has gone viral.

“[Midland Public Schools] is sickened by the social media post and feel awful for Ashton and her family,” Midland Public Schools said in a statement. “H.H. Dow High School and the Midland Public Schools’ school community is honored to have a student of Ashton’s character as a member of our student body.”

The district said the girl who posted the photo last attended MPS for her junior year. She transferred and graduated from another school district in 2015 and currently attends Michigan State University.

“We are equally offended and upset that our schools and community have been connected to her comments in this matter,” the statement continued. “The comments made do not reflect the beliefs of our district or schools in any way.”

The school district investigated the issue and believe the student in the gorilla costume was unaware of the post.

“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,” the statement said.

The statement ended by saying MPS will condemn this type of racism and misuse of social media.

“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,” said Jules Muck, the mother of the young woman who did the original Instagram post. “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.”

Michigan State University has also responded to the situation with the following statement:

One of the university’s core values is inclusion, and we are committed to fostering a campus climate that does not condone racial harassment or bullying. The university is aware of the recent posting connected to an MSU student. This posting is deeply troubling and is clearly not aligned with our core values. We are addressing this situation in a responsible manner through multiple channels.

— MSU spokesman Jason Cody