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College football players in Wisconsin suspended for sharing image of KKK rally

Five college football players in Wisconsin have been suspended for sharing a picture on Snapchat of a cross burning at a Ku Klux Klan rally, university officials said.

The unidentified football players at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire were disciplined Wednesday after circulating a black and white photo of an oversized burning cross while referencing the school’s Black Male Empowerment club, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“For all who can’t make the BME meeting, [a student] and I are holding WME tonight at 7,” an accompanying caption read, referencing the university’s fictitious White Male Empowerment group.

Another message in the conversation referred to one of the players as the “grand wizard” of the nonexistent group, the newspaper reports.

Chancellor James Schmidt said Tuesday that he asked university officials to investigate and take appropriate steps.

“Our campus will not tolerate this racist action,” Schmidt tweeted.

Schmidt declined to indicate what type of punishment the students are facing, saying only that the dean of students had a range of options to utilize, the Journal Sentinel reports.

“These symbols and pictures and comments harken back to some of the darkest days in our country’s history,” Schmidt told the newspaper, adding that he was “thoroughly disgusted” by the content.

University officials have not identified the players, but the vice president of the Black Male Empowerment club said the group received screenshots of the images from a team member.

“It was in a football group chat with juniors on the team,” Jalen Thomas told WEAU. “These young men are adults. They’re juniors in college so they know right from wrong. I really don’t care if it’s a joke or not. There are a lot of sensitive things in our country’s history that you just don’t touch on.”