‘You did not deserve this in any way’: Connell AD apologizes to Zillah students

CONNELL, Wash. — In light of an investigation by the North Franklin School District (NFSD), Connell High School Athletic Director Stephen Pyeatt released his first public statement after Connell fans harassed Zillah students of color with racist remarks during a girl’s basketball game on Saturday.

Pyeatt issued the following remarks publicly on the Connell High School Facebook page on Tuesday night:

To the Zillah basketball players, to the coaches and fans, to the Zillah community,

I want to take this time to apologize for the racist actions that transpired while I was in charge of the girls basketball game on May 22, 2021. I know that what happened has caused an immense amount of pain to you as a player, coach, fan, family member, and community member, and I am deeply sorry. You did not deserve this in any way, and no one should ever have to be subjected to what happened. I am sorry.

Stephen Pyeatt
Connell High School Athletic Director

Public backlash has been directed toward Pyeatt after a video showing his response to the incident went viral. In the video, Zillah High School’s head coach pointed the incident out to Pyeatt. The video shows him making a phone call as he walked past the Zillah bench before stopping in the opposite corner of the gymnasium to interact with people in the bleachers.

Pyeatt did not reprimand the students who made those racist comments and gestures. Instead, an internal investigation by the NFSD will decide how to reprimand those involved.

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