A youth soccer team is stunned after their coach found racist hate mail left on his car windshield, in his own driveway.
Athletes and families of the Idaho Juniors Futbol Club are standing together, after their coach, Jeremy Tarkon, made an awful discovery.
“I came out Sunday morning, start my car up, and there was a plastic bag on my windshield,” Tarkon said.
Inside that bag was a gut-wrenching letter — racist hate mail, slamming the team, even telling Tarkon to “be careful.”
“There’s some hateful people out there,” Tarkon said. “It was a pretty derogatory letter against all of our families.”
The team prides itself on being pretty diverse. Tarkon says about 75 percent of the kids are minorities, and that can make them targets.
“One of my kids came up to me last year and the n-word was used and he wanted to know what that meant,” Tarkon said. “You know…how do you explain that to a kid?”
Tarkon has shared the letter with law enforcement and filed a police report.
The Idaho Youth Soccer Association (IYSA) says if the author of the letter is a member of the state’s soccer community, they’ll have to face the organization’s judicial and ethics committee.
“If it’s up to me, I’ll make sure this person doesn’t coach in the State of Idaho, or be a parent watching soccer in the State of Idaho, or a player in the State of Idaho,” said Craig Warner, executive director of IYSA. “…make sure they never touch a soccer field in the State of Idaho again.”
Until then, Tarkon says he and his athletes are uniting for a cause beyond the soccer field.
“It’s bigger than soccer now…so much bigger than soccer,” Tarkon said. “What a cool opportunity for us and our families to bring awareness to our community and say, ‘Hey, let’s stand together and let’s get rid of hate.’”
IYSA says this recent incident has triggered a bigger dialogue for the association on how to prevent hate on the soccer field, and giving racism the red card.