A detail shot of a basketball.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty

Basketball players defend disabled cheerleader against bullies

Updated

Three middle school basketball players stood up to bullies in a gesture that’s gone viral.

Eighth grade cheerleader Desiree Andrews was on the sidelines of a Tuesday night game at Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when she became the target of taunting from the stands. The comments aimed at Andrews, who has Down syndrome, caught the attention of Chase Vazquez, Miles Rodriguez, and Scooter Terrien — three Lincoln players who walked off the court to defend her.

“The kids in the audience were picking on Dee,” Vazquez told NBC affiliate TMJ4 in Milwaukee, “so we all stepped forward.”

After the game, the three boys befriended Andrews, telling TMJ4 that they unofficially dedicated the gym to her at their last home game on Monday. They called it “D’s House” — a name that the school’s athletic director is planning to adopt for the space.

The boys’ stance against bullying went viral, prompting emails and calls to Lincoln Middle School from people who were touched by the story. The Kenosha Unified School District’s Facebook page has also received dozens of comments of support.

According to TMJ4, Vazquez, Rodriguez, and Terrien will receive citizenship awards from the Kenosha City Council next week, and are also being considered for the mayor’s youth award.

“It’s not fair when other people get treated wrong because we’re all the same,” Terrien said. “We’re all created the same. God made us the same way.”

PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, 2/20/15, 6:56 PM ET

‘Little Ballers’ shines light on AAU hoops

Rev. Sharpton talks to Crystal McCrary about a new film documenting how basketball programs are helping youth escape inner-city problems.

Explore:

Basketball players defend disabled cheerleader against bullies

Updated