Ga. Southern baseball player accused of throwing bottle at cheerleader

A Georgia Southern University baseball player is accused of throwing a bottle at a Savannah State University cheerleader at a football game between the schools last Saturday in Statesboro, according to a university police report.

Georgia Southern left-handed pitcher Evan Challenger threw a bottle at the cheerleader, according to the report from the Georgia Southern Police Department.

“Key administrators from Georgia Southern University and Savannah State University discussed the offensive behavior shown by fans at Saturday’s game,” Georgia Southern spokeswoman Jennifer Wise said. “A full investigation is currently underway.”

The cheerleader neglected to press charges, but according to the police report Challenger was asked to leave the stadium.

Challenger, a redshirt senior from Mount Dora, Fla., was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team the past two seasons. He could face disciplinary action from Georgia Southern and the athletic association. The incident is under judicial review, according to the report.

“Athletics is aware of the situation and they are handling it internally,” Wise said.

Alcohol may have been a factor in the incident, according to the report.

While the police report made no mention of racial slurs, Savannah State cheerleader Ma'Kyha Sims wrote on her Facebook page about the incident: "I can sit here and say as long as I've been cheering me and my cheer mates have never experienced racial discrimination until (Saturday). From bottles being thrown at us to being called all the unholy names! This may be the worst cheer experience ever!"

Savannah State is a historically black university located about an hour away from Georgia Southern.

Students from both schools took to Sims’ page to express their disappointment.

“On behalf of Eagle Nation, I apologize whole heartedly,” a Georgia Southern student wrote. “I hate to hear that anyone is being discriminated against and antagonized by people that are my “peers.” There is no excuse for the behavior that … GSU exhibited. Praying for you and your team.”

Savannah State spokeswoman Loretta Heyward said the cheerleaders will not cheer in Saturday’s game against Southern Mississippi.

Heyward said she does not know if other students were attacked during the game or if there have been similar incidents reported by Savannah State students at other games against Georgia Southern.

Heyward did not say if students had discussed the incident with campus officials, but added: “Our student affairs personnel are always available to assist students and offer guidance.”

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