SANTA FE (KRQE) – It’s a hazing ritual for a New Mexico high school basketball team. But it recently led to one player getting his nose broken.
It started as a celebratory bus ride home for the Santa Fe High School basketball team, after a win against Rio Rancho High School early last month.
But that celebration took a turn. One after one, surveillance video shows players beating up younger players. A group would gang up on one kid at a time throwing punches, kicking, and tossing them in the aisle.
The team’s coach in the video doesn’t seem to notice what’s happening as he sits in the front of the bus.
“The incident occurred as some kind of hazing incident,” said Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo with State Police.
Some players told police the beatings were part of an initiation for underclassmen, called “Freshmanized.”
That hazing left a 15-year-old freshman with a broken nose.
“What we were informed was there was a possible battery that had occurred,” said Sgt. Armijo.
But when state police questioned the players, all said they didn’t feel intimidated or scared.
The student with the broken nose wrote in his statement, “The varsity and a couple other freshman were horsing around and we were beating each other up. This led to me getting my nose accidentally broken by a varsity player.”
Another player wrote, “I just want to say this is getting out of hand. They never meant to do this in any way or hurt us.” The player ended with, “I love this team and I think there shouldn’t be punishment.”
KRQE News 13 spoke with Santa Fe Public Schools and they said the kids were punished.
“The students were suspended for three days from the school and the coach was suspended for one game,” said Sara Baca, Santa Fe Public Schools Athletic Director.
The head coach of the team was not suspended by Santa Fe Public Schools. They said he made the decision to be suspended for a game.
According to the police report, this type of hazing has gone on for years.
The Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case.