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President Simon condemns racist Instagram post aimed at high school punter

October 27, 2016

An MSU freshman is embroiled in controversy for an Instagram post, which many have interpreted as racist, aimed at a black football player in Midland, Mich.

The post in question features predental freshman Reyna Muck posed next to a man in a gorilla suit, with the caption “got a pic with dows kicker ;)”. The caption referred to Ashton Brooks, a senior placekicker on H. H. Dow High School’s varsity football team. The comment appears to mock Brooks for her race.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon joined an extensive list of those condemning a controversial Instagram post made earlier this week by Muck. Simon sent a campus-wide email calling the post “deeply offensive."

The post went viral after it was shared by New York Daily News writer Shaun King, who tweeted, “When a young Black girl is the #1 football kicker in her conference, here’s what happens = White girls pose w/ gorillas & call them her.”

Muck has allegedly apologized for the post and claimed a former boyfriend posted on her account, though the only evidence for both are screenshots that cannot immediately be verified for authenticity. When reached, Muck declined to comment.

Muck has since deleted her social media accounts or made them private.

Muck, who joined Delta Gamma in the fall, is facing repercussions for the post.

“We, NPHC, are sickened by the behavior displayed by Ms. Muck and expect that both the Panhellenic Council and Delta Gamma’s National leadership handles this incident thoroughly,” MSU’s National Pan-Hellenic Council president Myya Jones said in a statement.

As of Oct. 26, Muck is no longer affiliated with Delta Gamma, Director of Marketing and Communications Lisa Gregory Dodge said. Dodge would not clarify if the termination of Muck’s membership was a result of a disciplinary action or if Muck left the organization of her own accord.

“This woman is no longer a new member of Delta Gamma,” Dodge said in an email statement. “Delta Gamma does not condone the behavior exhibited by this woman.”

Muck may also face disciplinary action from MSU.

“This posting is deeply troubling and is clearly not aligned with our core values," MSU spokesperson Jason Cody said in a statement. "We are addressing this situation in a responsible manner through multiple channels."

Some students have called for Muck to be expelled via social media.

Michael E. Sharrow, superintendent for Midland Public Schools, Muck’s former school district, issued a statement that said the person in the gorilla suit was not aware of Muck’s Instagram post. 

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“MPS is sickened by the social media post and feel awful for Ashton and her family,” Sharrow wrote in his statement. “We are equally offended and upset that our Schools and Community have been connected to her comments in this matter. The comments made do not reflect the beliefs of our District or Schools in any way.”

Brooks, who also plays soccer, basketball and sings, has earned a partial scholarship to Northwood University for her athletic achievements, according to USA Today.

“She’s not our kicker because she’s a girl who can kick,” Dow High head football coach Jason Watkins said of Brooks in an October 13 Midland Daily News article. “She’s our kicker because she’s the best kicker in the program. And she’s one of the best kickers we’ve had in a long time.”

Riley Murdock contributed to this article.

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