Female High School Hockey Player Taunted About Gender
A high school hockey player was taunted about her gender by an opposing team during a game last week, and her story has become widely shared on social media. Alyssa Wruble, who is a junior at Northampton High School in Pennsylvania, was playing in a championship playoff game when fans from opposing Parkland High School began calling her a "dude" and questioning her gender.
Wruble's aunt, Donna Bloss, wrote about the incident on Facebook in a lengthy post that has been shared thousands of times. Bloss's post includes a photo of a poster that reads "Alyssa's gender reveal," followed by male and female symbols, which was put up during the game.
In the post, Bloss calls her niece an "amazing hockey player," who plays both on her high school team and on the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers team. While she said Wruble is respected by her own teammates, the treatment she received from opponents last week prompted her aunt to write a "rant" on social media.
"The level of unsportsmanlike conduct during these several championship games was mine boggling," Bloss wrote. "I've toyed with whether or not to even put this out there for fear of upsetting my niece even further but she knows this was done out of sheer jealousy."
"They couldn't go after her personality… She rocks. They couldn't go after her skill… She kills it in the games???. So this is what we're left with. The Parkland fans stooping to an all time low. So now I have something to say to each of you…?" the post continues.
Bloss wrote messages directed at the Parkland coaches, team and fans. She said a parent in the stands during the game yelled "take her out," and a group chanted "she has a penis."
Some also chanted "35 you're a dude," ?referring to Wruble's jersey number. The "gender reveal" sign spotted in the stands mimics a baby gender reveal, asking if Wruble is male or female.
The teen's mother, Heidi Wruble, told local publication Lehigh Valley Live that she didn't at first see the sign, but when she did, she was shaking with anger.
"You don't want to see something like that about your child," Heidi Wruble said. Another parent brought the offensive sign to the attention of the rink manager, according to Lehigh Valley Live.
Parkland High School wrote about the incident on Facebook Sunday, saying: "Parkland High School and Parkland School District would never condone such behavior as outlined above," and said that the principal, Mr. Moniz, immediately took the sign down when it was brought to his attention.
CBS News has reached out to the superintendent of Parkland schools as well as Wruble's high school principal for comment.
Vice President of Parkland Ice Hockey, Rob Bilger, said the sign was posted by a "random fan," according to Lehigh Valley Live. He said he sent a direct message to Heidi Wruble to ask if he could personally apologize to Alyssa and her family.
Alyssa's mother said she was disappointed that Bilger took days to send his message and it only came after hundreds of comments were left on Facebook. She has not responded to his message and said she spent Sunday focused on Alyssa's championship game win with the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers.
In an emailed statement to CBS News, the Parkland Ice Hockey Club said it "deeply regrets the actions of a group of fans regarding the bullying of Alyssa Wruble," and that they, along with USA Hockey, have zero tolerance for bullying.
"Unfortunately, bullying has been an ongoing problem for years in the LVSHL (Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League) and it needs to stop," the statement continues. "At this same game where a disgusting sign and chant were displayed by a group of Parkland fans, comments were made at the other end of the ice by the opposing fans taunting the Parkland players (which includes 2 girls on the team)."
"As hurtful and deplorable as these comments can be, they are happening at every game and the league, the officials, the organizations in the league to include their players, coaches, board members and fans must work together to put a stop to this unsportsmanlike conduct," the statement reads.
CBS News has reached out to Bilger and other employees of Parkland Ice Hockey as well as Donna Bloss and Heidi Wruble for more information.
First published on March 5, 2020 / 12:54 PM
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