Nate Panza, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards and scored 17 touchdowns last season for the Morristown-Beard School, has been booted from the Cornell University football team over a racial slur posted online over the weekend.
“There is no room for this behavior in Cornell Athletics,” Andy Noel, director of athletics at Cornell, said in a statement on Tuesday. After viewing the video, head football coach David Archer rescinded Panza’s offer to join the team in the fall.
Another 2020 Morristown-Beard graduate, Sarah Laud, had her admission to Colgate University revoked Tuesday by Colgate President Brian Casey, after more than 2,000 people signed an online petition demanding her ouster over a racially insensitive TikTok video.
“We immediately started an investigation…and considered both its message and its potential impact,” Casey tweeted. “As a result of this review and consistent with both our processes and our principles, the University has revoked our offer of admission to the individual in question, who will not be joining our community in the fall.”
On Panza’s video, posted to Snapchat and shared by others over various social media platforms, the bare-chested teen can be heard using an expletive and the N-word.
His friend behind the camera, fellow Morristown-Beard graduate Adam Giaquinto, is heard applying the N-word to George Floyd, the black man killed by a Minneapolis policeman on Memorial Day.
Panza and Giaquinto’s social media accounts appear to have been deleted and they could not be reached for comment. The University of Richmond, where Giaquinto is bound this fall, has tweeted that it’s investigating the matter.
Caution: This video contains racist language:
guy with no shirt is Nathan Panza @MorristownBeard & is going to Cornell @Cornell in the fall (‘24) and the guy behind the camera is Adam Giaquinto & is going to Richmond @richmonduni in the fall (‘24). both @MorristownBeard graduates !! pic.twitter.com/DMd6uZeQfu
— som (@SommerHeyman) June 21, 2020
Black student organizations at Cornell, and Morristown-Beard students and alumni, have expressed outrage on social media.
In a statement to the Cornell Daily Sun, Panza apologized and said he would spend the rest of his life trying prove he is not a racist.
“A video was taken of me using a word that is offensive and hurtful. The word has a long history of cruelty for the black community and is simply wrong. I am heartbroken I have hurt people; those I know and those I do not. I take full responsibility for my actions,” Panza said.
“I do not believe that my language that night aligns with who I have tried to be as a person, the values I live by or the manner in which I have conducted myself as an athlete. My immediate reaction to the video was to reach out to my entire high school community to offer my sincerest apologies.”
“One word does not define me as a man or human being,” the statement said, “and I can only hope that the Cornell Community will allow me the opportunity to make the appropriate amends and give me that second chance.”
Laud, a member of the Morristown-Beard yearbook staff and the school’s Spanish language honor society, had posted herself in front of a backdrop of a Wikipedia entry on “African Americans.” She then proclaims: “Hey loser, we’re going shopping!”
Caution: Viewers may find this video offensive.
A Colgate spokesman called the video “an affront to our core values as a place of higher education.”
Morristown Green has reached out to Laud and will update this story with any comment from her.
On Monday, Morristown Green reported that Morristown-Beard will convene a task force to re-examine its diversity and inclusion programs.
Headmaster Peter Caldwell, referring to the Panza video, described the former students’ behavior as “inappropriate and unacceptable…offensive and hurtful,” and not representative of the Morris Township prep school, which does not “tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.”