High school wrestlers suspended from school, competition - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

High school wrestlers suspended from school, competition for controversial photo

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Eight high school student wrestlers explain a controversial photo that has gotten them suspended from school. (Source: WFMZ/CNN) Eight high school student wrestlers explain a controversial photo that has gotten them suspended from school. (Source: WFMZ/CNN)

PHILLIPSBURG, NJ (WFMZ/CNN) – Eight high school wrestlers in New Jersey are explaining a photograph that's sparked outrage.

The group held a news conference Thursday night about the photograph in question.

The photo shows seven Phillipsburg High school wrestlers posing with a black wrestling dummy hanging by a noose. The eighth wrestler took the photo.

Their attorney Scott Wilhelm said the teens did not intend to be racist.

"We are making this statement to address issues which have arisen in recent days as a result of a photograph we took that has circulated on the internet," Wilhelm said. "When we spontaneously set the scene and posed for the photograph, our sole purpose was to promote school spirit and portray our wrestling team as victor over two of our arch rivals, Paulsboro High School and Kittatinny High School, and not for any other purpose."

The students were punished with three-day suspensions from school. They're also not being allowed to take part in a district tournament this weekend. The group could also face a criminal investigation by police.

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