American football coach fired over 'racist watermelon ritual'

A high school American football coach was reportedly fired because of a "racist" post-match celebration ritual involving a watermelon.

"Players would gather in a circle and smash the watermelon while others were either standing in a group or locking arms and making chanting sounds described as, 'Ooh, ooh, ooh,'" school district Superintendent Nancy McGinley told CNN.

The chant was described as "monkey sounds" and the watermelon was covered with caricatures, CNN reported.

A parent told the school board about the ritual, and the South Carolina Academic Magnet High School coach, Bud Walpole, was fired.

Walpole coached at the school for more than 10-years and has backing and support from many parents and students. A petition to reinstate him has more than 4000 signatures.

"Coach Walpole was fired because his team had a harmless tradition that was made to seem prejudiced," Harry Griffin, a junior at The Military College of South Carolina, said in a CNN iReport.

"They had a post-game ritual of smashing a watermelon and eating it after every victory. A parent on an opposing team deemed this act as racist and the school board decided to interrogate the players."

CNN says the school is yet to make comment.

American football.

More From