A black student was forced to sit in a locker strewn with banana peels in a video that has sent shockwaves across social media.
He looks visibly distressed as his teammate threatens to “break his knees” if he refuses to obey the command.
The rest of the players cheer as he dejectedly takes his seat, while the ringleader roars: “Yessir.”
Local Police Chief Darren Gault called the incident a “disturbing racist scene”.
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He said an investigation found that the people involved were teammates “of both different and similar races to the victim.”
The teen, who has not been identified because of his age, has since said he’s “fine” and wants people to “stop talking about the incident.”
The Moline High School student also said in a statement, released through the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office, that those involved have apologised for their behaviour.
“I love the football team I’m on and they’re good guys,” the young man said in a statement. “I know that personally.”
“I talked to the people involved individually and they apologised. We had a heartfelt talk about it and I told them how I felt. So please don’t harass, bully, or threaten them at all.”
He added that he appreciates the concern the incident has generated but he’s hoping “to get (his) life back together, and (his) student-athlete life back on track.”
He wants to be treated “as a human first, not a victim,” he continued.
“I want to make it known that I’m fine. Everyone is worried about me and showing concern for me and I really appreciate it. Second, can everyone please stop talking about the incident and video?
“I understand everyone wants justice for me and they want what they think is right to be done, but I already made my feelings known to the police and my friends about how I feel about everything.”
The case has now been referred to the Rock Island County State Attorney Office’s juvenile division “for appropriate action.”
State Attorney Dora Villarreal urged the public to stop sharing the video on social media and to respect the student’s privacy.
Meanwhile, the Moline-Coal Valley School District is conducting a “school-based investigation” of the incident, Superintendent Dr Rachel Savage said on Monday.
She also clarified that because the students involved are minors “the details of student discipline are private and protected by federal law.”
“While outcry over the incident understandably calls for answers and justice, few details of this school-based investigation can actually be revealed. This must not be misunderstood or mistaken for lack of action,” she said.
Moline is located about 160 miles (257km) west of Chicago along the Illinois-Iowa border.