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Lacrosse Team Apologizes After Fans Threaten To "Scalp" Native Opponent

Lyle Thompson and Miles Thompson before a 2015 game for the MLL’s Florida Launch.
Photo: Marc Serota (Getty)

The National Lacrosse League’s Georgia Swarm moved to 4-0 with a 13-11 win in Philadelphia on Saturday, led by star forward Lyle Thompson’s three goals and three assists. But the game was marred by comments from Philadelphia Wings’ PA announcer, as well as from some fans:

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Thompson is a superstar, the former first overall pick in both NLL and MLL, and won the NLL’s MVP in 2017. He’s also very proud of and vocal about his native heritage, having grown up in the Onondaga Nation and represented the Iroquois Nationals in international play. His long braid is not only a personal signature (the Swarm gave away “bobble-braid” dolls a few years ago), but a family tradition (all of Thompson’s brothers, including Swarm teammate Miles Thompson, sport it) and a nod to his Native heritage. All of this is extremely common knowledge in lacrosse—which, too, comes from the Iroquois.

And yet, nearly every time Thompson touched the ball on Saturday, the Wings’ in-arena announcer commented on his hair, urging the Wings to “clip that ponytail.” That apparently led some fans shout at Thompson that they were going to “scalp” him.

Shawny Hill, the Wings’ PA guy, apologized Sunday morning for his comments, following on the heels of an official apology from the Wings.

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