New Jersey high school athletes who engage in trash talking could soon find themselves under investigation by the State Division of Civil Rights, and face other penalties as well.

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The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and the State Attorney General’s Office say this will bring high school athletics in line with anti-bullying laws for schools that are already on the books.

If harassing statements are made related to gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion, “there very well could be penalties against the individual and or the school, if there are violations of our sportsmanship rules,” says New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Assistant Director Larry White.

He points out the sportsmanship rules are already in effect, but the new policy requires the NJSIAA to report discriminatory conduct to the State Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the Civil Rights Division.

White adds the policy also applies to fans at games, who verbally abuse each other, players, coaches or referees.

Coaches will be responsible for reminding players of the anti trash-talking policy before the start of school next fall.