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January 13, 2019

Philadelphia Wings lacrosse apologizes after fans threaten to 'scalp' Native player, announcer yells 'snip that ponytail'

"I knew Philly takes pride in their ruthless fans but I didn't know it was like that."

Controversy Lacrosse
Philadelphia Wings Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

Albany Great Danes attack Lyle Thompson (middle) reaches for the ball against Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensemen Garrett Epple (52) and Matt Landis (43) during the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in May, 2015. The Fighting Irish won 14-10.

Both fans and an announcer at a Philadelphia Wings lacrosse game made some pretty offensive comments toward a Native opponent on Saturday. 

The player, 26-year-old forward Lyle Thompson from the Georgia Swarm, won the National Lacrosse League's MVP in 2017, and was the first overall pick in the NLL and MLL, according to Forbes. During college, he was the NCAA's all-time scorer in lacrosse.


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Thompson, who is vocal about having grown up in the Onondaga Nation in New York, has also represented the Iroquois Nationals in international play, Deadspin reported. The forward wears his hair in a long braid, as does his brother and teammate, Miles Thompson, as a family tradition and as homage to his Native roots. 

But Thompson tweeted after the game that Wings announcer Shawny Hill repeatedly said to "clip that ponytail," leading Philadelphia fans to chant they were going to "scalp" him. 


Hill issued an apology on Sunday, calling his words "poorly chosen" and "not intended as racially motivated," which is weird because lacrosse was literally invented by Native Americans and the hairstyle is a nod to their tradition. 

The team also issued a statement on Twitter on Hill's comments, saying they are taking steps to ensure this "this does not happen again."

The Swarm beat out the Wings in a 13-11 win. 


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