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Some dozen members of an upstate New York high school girls’ basketball team have been suspended over a chant centered on a racial slur. Before games, the Kenmore East High School team would join hands in the locker room, say a prayer, then count to three before yelling the N-word, students tell the Buffalo News.

The chant came to light after racial tensions on the team resulted in an in-school fight. When Tyra Batts, seen below, the team’s only black player, learned about the chant, reportedly a years-old tradition, her teammates told her it was “‘just a word, not a label,’” she says.

Later, Batts and another player had an argument on the court and her teammate used another racial insult. The two later fought; since then, racial tension has seeped through the school. School officials have apologized to Batts, calling the chant “absolutely unacceptable, insensitive, and not representative of the diverse student body.”

The players who participated in the chant will be suspended for two days, and serve a one-game suspension, though likely not during the same game.

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