An independent investigation has found that a high school American football team in Massachusetts whose coach was recently suspended after the team used antisemitic language during a game may in fact have been using anti-Jewish racist language for a decade.
Duxbury High School, 30 miles from Boston, “severed ties” with Head Coach David Maimaron earlier this year following the allegations. Mr Maimaron, also a special-needs teacher, was placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. The school also hired attorney and educational consultant Edward Mitnick to assist its investigation into reports that team members used the offensive language – including a reference to Auschwitz – in its on-field play-calling. The words “rabbi” and “dreidel” were also heard.
In recent years Duxbury has been one of the most successful teams in Massachusetts, with five state championships since 2005. In a statement, the administration said: “The outrage is real, warranted, and we hear it. The fact that members of our school community used such offensive language…is horrifying and disappointing.”
District Superintendent John Antonucci noted that the offensive words had not been directed at the opposing team or at a particular player.
Mr Maimaron released a statement in which he apologised for “the insensitive, crass and inappropriate language used in the game on 12th March.” The language was “careless, unnecessary…hurtful and…inexcusable,” he said.
Mr Mitnick conducted the investigation at the request of Duxbury Public Schools. After interviewing dozens of witnesses, he released a 56-page report tfinding that there was “sufficient credible evidence to conclude that offensive and inappropriate conduct occurred” in violation of numerous school district policies, and that the problem was systematic and potentially dated as far back as 2010. It is believed that plays called “rabbit” soon evolved in “rabbi”, and other Jewish terms followed.
Elsewhere in the state, officials at Hurley Middle School said that a group of eighth-graders wrote antisemitic, sexual and racist messages in yearbooks at the Seekonk, MA school’s annual yearbook signing event.