SHEBOYGAN FALLS, WI (WHBL) - Two Sheboygan Falls basketball players are suspended after a controversy about a picture which appeared in the Sheboygan Falls News recently.
The paper did a story on brothers Jordan, Jamal and Juwaun Jackson moving into the district and playing basketball. The paper took two pictures - one serious and another of the boys goofing around. The "goofing around" photo was the one that appeared in the paper.
District Superintendent Jean Born said a police-liaison officer brought to their attention that hand gestures made in the picture may be questionable. The disrict asked Sheboygan Falls Police to investigate, which did confirm the gestures were gang symbols.
Born said district officials followed the athletic code, which resulted in the suspension of Jordan and Jamal. Born would not say how long the suspensions are for due to confidentiality.
Falls Police Chief Steve Riffel said the department's investigation including a meeting with the boys and their family. He said while the gestures were determined to be gang signs, the brothers adamently said their action was not intended to be criminal in nature. Riffel adds that the department does not see the gestures as a threat.
Meanwhile, the editor of the paper - Jeff Pederson - who chose the picture, is dumbfounded. He said it was a feel-good story and we saw nothing wrong with the picture. He said he’s never encountered anything like this in 20 years doing small-town news.