SUTTER, Calif. – A northern California high school is dealing with a social media-stoked controversy after video showing one of its football players vandalizing an opposing team's locker room was shared online.
The video from December 1 shows the young student-athlete destroying a couch using a sledgehammer.
The Sutter Union High School player and his team had just lost their North Section championship game against West Valley High School in Cottonwood.
"One, I was disappointed. I was disappointed one of our young student-athletes would demonstrate that level of unsportsmanlike behavior," said Sutter Union Principal and Superintendent Ryan Robison.
On Monday, Robison said the student has since been suspended.
Administrators found out about the incident shortly after the game but did not realize the video existed until the following Monday. It's now been viewed more than 33,000 times.
"This is something that’s taken on a life of its own on the internet," Robison said. "However, the incident is being dealt with the way we deal with incidents between schools."
Robison said he sat down with the student and his mother Monday. The student will be doing community service and working to raise money to cover all costs of the damage done to West Valley’s locker room.
"The young man did show remorse," Robison told KTXL. "He took responsibility for his actions. He offered no excuses."
Neither West Valley High School nor their team’s coach returned calls for comment.
Robison said the sledgehammer has been a team prop and a symbol of their tough defense for the last five years. After the incident, the sledgehammer tradition is being reviewed.
"This young man did make a mistake, a tremendous mistake, one he’s going to pay for for the rest of his life because, once you’re on the internet, it never goes away," Robison said. "It’s a shadow that will follow you, and it was a pretty dark moment for him. I believe he’ll learn from it; I believe he’ll grow."
The student's teammates were also working to raise money that will go to West Valley High School to help cover damages.