RACINE — Brian Fletcher, coach of the Horlick High School football team, has been suspended for one game by the Unified School District following an incident Friday night at Burlington.
The incident occurred with about 3 minutes to play in Horlick’s 39-24 nonconference loss to Burlington at Don Dalton Stadium. Horlick had just been called for a personal foul after what was ruled an illegal hit on Burlington wide receiver Jacob Weidert.
Weidert was placed on a stretcher and removed from the field in an ambulance. Burlington coach Steve Tenhagen said Monday night that Weidert should be cleared for practice Wednesday.
While the injured player was being attended to, Fletcher reportedly yelled to an official, “Would we have gotten that call if my safety was a Caucasian?”
Fletcher was assessed his second unsportsmanlike penalty of the game for the remark, resulting in an automatic ejection. Horlick was called for 15 penalties for 98 yards that night, compared to six penalties for 70 yards for Burlington, and Fletcher said afterward that he was frustrated by the discrepancy.
After Burlington Standard Press reporter Mike Ramczyk wrote about the incident over the weekend, it sparked outcry from readers, including the comment: “Given the racial tension of today, it’s just a shame that coach had to go that way.”
Fletcher issued a formal apology through the Unified School District on Monday which read: “I am aware that my actions at Friday night’s football game were out of line and insensitive and I apologize to those I offended. I regret the negative image my actions have cast on players, coaches, staff and administration at Horlick High School as well as the Racine community. My choice of words was inconsistent with the morals and values I strive to emulate and teach my players. On behalf of the Horlick football team and myself, I wish the young man from Burlington my sincerest regards for a full and speedy recovery from his injury.”
Unified spokeswoman Stacy Tapp said the nature of disciplinary action taken against Fletcher would not be disclosed because it was considered an internal personnel matter.
But Fletcher confirmed the disciplinary action Monday afternoon when he returned a call to The Journal Times. Fletcher said he will be suspended for Horlick’s Southeast Conference opener against Kenosha Tremper Friday at Ameche Field in Kenosha. Fletcher said he will be in the press box during the game, but will not be allowed to coach.
Fletcher, a 1996 graduate of Horlick, said offensive line coach Eric Prybykski will direct the team during his one-game suspension.
NOTE: The Journal Times spelled the name of Burlington Standard Press reporter Mike Ramczyk incorrectly in a prior version of this story. The Journal Times regrets the error.