Racial heckling accusations made at softball game

The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) is investigating an incident at Tuesday’s MHSAA 6A softball playoff game with Madison Central at Hernando, where fans sitting beyond the outfield fence are accused of using racial slurs when heckling a Madison Central outfielder. 

The incident took place during the game, won by the Lady Tigers 12-2 in six innings. The victory vaulted Hernando into the third round of the playoffs, which will start at Lewisburg tonight.

Play was stopped in the middle of the contest when the outfielder appealed to the umpire, who then spoke with officials about the fans parked beyond the outfield fence. 

The fans were approached about the heckling and eventually were asked to leave the area.  

Executive Director Rickey Neaves of the MHSAA told Jackson television station WAPT they were informed by Madison Central parents about the heckling, which parents said included the “N” word at the outfielder.  

Neaves said the MHSAA and Hernando school officials are looking into the matter.  

“It also got into some racial slurs and some vulgar language,” Neaves told the television station. 

Neaves believes those found responsible would likely be disciplined by the school and could be banned from attending athletic events for up to a year. 

“We regret that it happened and we will do our best to ensure that it doesn’t happen to her (player) and anyone else again,” Neaves said. 

In an email response to a request from DeSoto County News, Neaves said, “This incident has been reported and is being handled locally with the Hernando Administration. We have complete confidence that our schools will investigate this and deal with it on the local level.”

The mother of the outfielder involved, Phylicia Cotten, spoke out about the matter on a Facebook post, where she said the fans heckling her daughter were using the “N” word and said they should be made accountable for their actions.  

We have reached out to Hernando school officials regarding the situation and will update the story if more information is received.