Picture showing team holding broom hits hard for New Mexico community

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A State Football Championship is being overshadowed by what a team posted on social media.

It was down to the last second thriller, with the Ruidoso Warriors beating the Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals, but it’s a picture taken before the big game that has everyone talking.

The Ruidoso Warriors won the State 4A Title against the Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals on Saturday.

The game was hard to shake for the Cardinals for different reasons.

“It was something very, very hard for everyone to get over and get past,” said former Robertson student Julie Silva.

Ruidoso High School Head Football Coach, Kief Johnson, posted a picture on Twitter last week. It shows the team after practice, one of them is holding up a broom.

It also made its way to Facebook, where a player commented, “Hey, it’s not our fault Robertson likes to play with broomsticks.”

“When this came about, it kind of just, all of the emotions resurfaced. I can tell that he got upset and reminded of everything all over again,” said Silva.

Former Robertson High School student, Silva, is talking about her classmate.

He was a victim back in 2008 when six players from the Robertson Football Team used a broomstick to sodomize young players during a hazing ritual.

The players were later found guilty of rape-related charges.

Coach Johnson says the broom was only to signify the team wanted to “sweep the playoffs” after winning the past two playoff games.

The coach knew of Robertson’s past and made sure the broom would not be at this weekend’s game.

“We did not want to be offensive. I understand the sensitivity to the Robertson community,” said Coach Johnson.

Coach Johnson agrees the comment from one of his star players was inappropriate. He says he will address the issue with the team, and he apologizes.

“Win with class. You don’t need to do anything like that. Unfortunately this thing was blown up as misunderstood,” he said.

Robertson’s head football coach did not want to comment.

The Las Vegas School District ended up paying a $5 million settlement to the seven players who were attacked.

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