BRIDGE CITY, TX (KTRK) -- The gridiron in east Texas was heating up Friday, but not because of the game. A usually friendly rivalry between Bridge City and West Orange-Stark kicked off, but the players were tackling a much bigger issue than football.
Two Bridge City players shared a racist image that compared a West Orange-Stark player to a cartoon with the n-word on social media earlier in the week.
"Te'Ron is a kid and he's a boy, so he's pretty tough. He's fine. He's fine. Day for day, it gets a little bit easier," said Terranesia Guity, the mother of Te'Ron Brown, the WOS senior targeted by the image. He's been holding his head high during the controversy and, on Friday, he lead the team carrying the American flag onto the field.
The community is standing with him with shirts printed with his number, 54, or #WeStandWith54.
"From my phone blowing up to people coming by to people wanting to do shirts, it's really just been overwhelming," Guity said.
The Bridge City coach, principal and superintendent all apologized to the West Orange-Cove district and to Guity. The students involved were disciplined "appropriately," but superintendent Todd Lintzen could not say how due to privacy laws. He also could not say if the players were on the field Friday.
"I trust that it's been taken care of," Guity said about the students' discipline. "I just feel that my son deserves a formal apology from the children."
Meanwhile, the Bridge City community is denouncing the racist image.
"I don't think it's right at all, I think it's very disrespectful," Wesley Abel said.
"That's not something that represents the citizens of Bridge City. That's not something that represents the students in the Bridge City school district," Wes Bailey said.
Guity said Te'Ron and the other members of the WOS defending state champs are focusing on the game, not on the controversy.