Lawyer for Phillipsburg Wrestlers Speaks with Deminski and Doyle [AUDIO]
We have been discussing the case of the 8 Phillipsburg wrestlers that have come under fire for a controversial ‘racist’ photo throughout the week and asking your opinion on what, if any penalty should these teens receive.
This afternoon during the 4pm hour, the boys’ lawyer Scott Wilhelm, joined us for a few minutes to discuss some of the details of what he knows and his thoughts on the case.
The photograph was taken roughly around February 6th, after Phillipsburg defeated Paulsboro.
We have been mentioning all week how you cannot find a wrestling dummy like the one pictured in anything than a dark color. Wilhelm agreed saying “That’s correct. The Manufacturer only makes it in a dark leather. The Dummy is used by all high schools and college and wrestling clubs. It’s the dummy that coaches use to help demonstrate moves for the wrestlers. So it’s in everyone’s wrestling rooms.”
When we asked about Paulsboro’s racial makeup, Wilhelm mentioned that he asked the boys directly if anyone of his clients recalled wrestling any wrestlers that were black. “They said that only one of the Paulsboro boys that was black that wrestled.”
“I think they (the boys) have been honest with me from the get-go. This is a case where people are just looking at the tree and not looking at the forest. When you’re looking at the photo you have to look at the entire photo” Wilhelm noted.
Bill Doyle asked about another point of contention, which were the hoodies that the boys were wearing in the photo. Wilhelm said that the hoodies were propped up to make it look as if they were executioners because they had just had 2 successful victories over rivals but in no way were they meant to resemble the KKK.
The reason that the boys and their families sought legal counsel was that they had face to face meetings with school educators and officials and were assured that their punishments would be handled with school suspensions and sensitivity training and it would not affect their wrestling status.They were then later scratched from the post-season tournament, which Phillipsburg went on to win.
The prosecutor of Warren County has said that there is a criminal investigation now open. We asked Wilhem what possible crime could they be investigating. Wilhelm mentions “There is a crime in the state of New Jersey, a bias crime, if you intimidate, harass, threaten or harm someone intentionally, based on race color or creed.” Wilhelm went on to say that if charges were to be filed that “I don’t think they would stand.”
Lastly, Wilhelm mentioned that the entire episode started because of the circulation of the photo. Wilhelm believes that the photo was circulated through social media amongst themselves, the wrestlers and their social circle. The photo was not directed at any member or sent to anyone directly from the Paulsboro team.
You can listen to the entire interview with Scott Wilhelm in the audio player below.