North Carolina Volleyball Club Director Sparks Outrage With ‘Don’t Eat the Bat’ Instagram Post

A volleyball coach and senior director of the NGO Triangle Volleyball Club was recently seen mocking Asian people during an apparent game played over a video conference call.

Earlier this week, an image was posted on Triangle Volleyball Club’s Instagram page, showing a collage of people wearing uniquely-created hats.

Among them was Jenna Hinton. Most were kids or teens wearing eccentric hats, while Hinton chose to wear a traditional Asian hat with the words “Don’t eat the bat” written on it.

“It was during the time of quarantine, and we amused ourselves with things like crazy hat contests!” the caption for the post read.

While the post has since been removed from Triangle Volleyball Club’s Instagram account, Instagram user Jackfroot captured the offending image and reposted it on its own account.

“Whether this was meant to be a funny joke or not, we need to hold this organization accountable,” Jackfroot noted in its post. “It’s ignorance and actions from organizations like these that continue to spread hatred, crime and attacks against Asians around the world. This non-profit organization is promoting a message that is extremely unprofessional and makes you question their beliefs and ethics.”

Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, there has been a spate of verbal and physical attacks against Chinese people and Asians in general. In most of these attacks, Asian people are often portrayed as uncivilized or barbaric.

Founded in 2002, the Triangle Volleyball Club noted in its website that it focuses on “the personal and athletic development of our student-athletes, and creates a safe, positive, and effective learning environment in which student-athletes strive to achieve individual excellence within a team dynamic.”

President and Executive Director Sherry Fadool told NextShark that the organization is already “taking this situation very seriously and undergoing internal discussions on the matter.”

Fadool confirmed that Hinton is a member of their staff and a team coach. She also noted that it was she who posted the image in question.

“Hinton had access to our social media platforms and the picture of her team zoom meeting was posted without the knowledge of our primary social media team,” Fadool said. “We are now streamlining access to our social media platforms to ensure that all future content is a true reflection of our values and aligns with our mission of “educating the whole person through excellence in the sport of volleyball.” We take this mission very seriously and understand that it calls us to set a proper example for the athletes in our charge – which includes admitting to when we’ve made a mistake.”

Fadool also shared their official apology on the matter which has since been posted across all of their social media platforms.

“We recognize that the content of one of our recent social media posts was viewed in a light we would never intend,” the NGO wrote. “We sincerely apologize and have removed it from our social media feeds. We take very seriously our stated mission to “educate the whole person” and know that mission calls us to set a proper example for the athletes in our charge – which includes admitting to when we’ve made a mistake. We humbly admit to our mistake, apologize for offending anyone and commit to exercising greater sensitivity in the future.”

Meanwhile, Hinton, who remains listed in the NGO’s website as its senior director, has yet to publish an apology of her own.

According to Triangle Volleyball Club’s website, Hinton was inducted into the Barton College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014 for her collegiate achievements in the field of volleyball.

“For the past 5 seasons, she has been at the helm of 12 Black while serving as the Master coach for the 12U program,” the site further noted. “This past season, the 12U program grew to over 70 athletes, forming 7 teams, the largest 12U group in Triangle history. In 2018, Hinton was the recipient of the American Volleyball Coach’s Association 12U National Coach of the Year Award.”

*story by NextShark