CHICAGO (CBS)– Players, coaches, and parents of two youth basketball teams demanded further action on Tuesday, after their group was asked to change tables at Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville a week ago Saturday, because of the color of their skin.
The group of 18 people has said an employee told them a white customer did not want to sit next to black people. Buffalo Wild Wings has fired the employees involved in the incident, and banned the customer who asked not to be seated next to the group from all of their restaurants.
The group’s attorney, Cannon Lambert, said they’re also looking for Buffalo Wild Wings to establish a clearly defined zero tolerance policy on racism.
“If you engage in bigoted conduct, you shall be fired,” Lambert said.
Lambert said the restaurant chain should put a clear zero tolerance policy on racism into an employee handbook, and on signs at all their restaurants.
Buffalo Wild Wings already has said it will conduct sensitivity training at all Chicago area locations, in addition to firing the managers involved and banning the customer for life.
There were 12 children and six adults at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville a week ago Saturday after the children’s basketball game.
The problems they said they experienced all started with a question.
“He just came up and he said, ‘What race are you?’” said youth basketball coach Justin Vahl.
That’s what Vahl said a host at the restaurant asked him. The explanation?
“There was a customer that was there that was a regular, and that he was racist and he did not want to sit by black people,” Vahl said.
Vahl was with his players, their family members, and fellow coach Marcus Riley.
Vahl and Riley coach the Bolingbrook Junior Raiders and Flight Athletics teams. The kids with them were between the ages of 5 and 12.
Some had just finished two games and wanted to celebrate a teammate’s birthday at the Buffalo Wild Wings
“It was tough,” Riley said. “Actually, the child’s birthday that it was, is my son’s best friend.”
The adults decided to leave. But then came the questions, from the kids.
“(A kid said), ‘Coach, are we getting kicked out? What did we do?’” Riley said. “I said: ‘You know what? We’re not getting kicked out. We’re choosing to spend our money elsewhere, because we’re not appreciated here.’”
Mary Vahl posted about what happened on Facebook, along with an image of the customer who wanted them to move. That man is now banned from all Buffalo Wild Wings sports bars for life.
“We needed some type of outlet to let people know that this is real and that this has happened,” Mary Vahl said.
“My 10 year-old, is still, as of right now, still talking about what happened and how wrong it is,” added Ashley Smith. “For him to know that someone is looking at his color and judging him from that, is ridiculous.”
The coaches and parents want Buffalo Wild Wings to use this as a teaching moment, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.