Brian Denu said the racial slurs and chants directed toward his girls soccer team last week — including "Donald Trump, build that wall!" — affected some players so deeply that they exited the contest.
"They came off the field and weren't able to finish the game because they were too upset and distraught over what was happening to them," Denu, head coach of the team at Wisconsin's Beloit Memorial High School, told WISC-TV.
"One of the girls was cradled in the arms of one of our assistant coaches for a good 15 to 20 minutes," he added to the station.
Denu told WISC that the taunts and chants came from a small group of students from Elkhorn High School where the Beloit squad — made up mostly of black and Latina girls — was playing a game Thursday night.
"Those are just words you'll never be able to take back from those kids and an experience that you wish you could take back," Denu added to WISC-TV. "It was really disturbing for them."
Denu said the ordeal seemed to be something new for his players.
"I could just see the hurt and pain on their face[s], and know that this was obviously something that they hadn't seen before," the coach added to the station, later noting: "Seeing the impact on those kids is something I'll never forget as a coach. It's 2016. You think that ... people don't have these views."
Denu added that he and his staff tried to soothe the affected girls following the contest.
"As a white male, I can't tell them, 'I know [what] this is like, I know how you feel,' because that's never happened to me," he told WISC. "But I wanted them to know that we were there to support them, we were there to fight for them and we're going to get through everything together."
Despite what he said transpired, Denu said he believes the Elkhorn students in question are probably "good kids" with "some really, really bad ideas in their head."
"I'd like them to just kind of take in what they said, think about their words before they say them ..." he told the station. "But those were hurtful and words that ... can last with people for a very very very long time."
Elkhorn district administrator Jason Tadlock told WISC that school officials are looking into what happened.
"We have confirmed that some students near the sidelines yelled inappropriate/offensive comments toward some of the players, and a student or two from the student section," Tadlock wrote in an email to the station. "Our investigation is ongoing, and I would be happy to comment further once it is completed."
(H/T: New York Daily News)