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Question Looms in Sayreville: Did Race Play a Role in Hazing Case?

The rumor uncoiled slowly but now it’s snaking through the minds of many black residents in this historically white factory-town. On October 10 police arrested seven varsity football players on hazing and sexual abuse allegations. But even as the case became a national sensation, officials largely refused to comment, prompting residents to come up with their own explanation for how seven seemingly good kids got in so much bad trouble. One of the leading theories, spread by social media and weekends still warm enough for neighbors to gather, is almost as unsettling as the charges themselves: the seven kids are black, their victims are white, and Sayreville is a borough veined by racism.