High school football team under investigation for use of anti-Semitic terms to call plays

A high school football team in Duxbury, Massachusetts is under investigation for its use of anti-Semitic language to call plays during a game.

In a statement shared with USA TODAY Sports, Duxbury Public Schools superintendent John Antonucci said the school launched an investigation as soon as the allegations came to light and reached out to members of the Duxbury community and the Anti-Defamation League. 

"As our investigation continues to unfold, it has become clear that members of the Duxbury High School football team did in fact use anti-Semitic and potentially other inappropriate and derogatory language," Antonucci said. "We have been in touch with many members of the community, parents, and the Anti-Defamation League regarding the seriousness of the allegations. We are continuing our investigation and will have further comment at a later time."

According to New England's Anti-Defamation League, the words "Auschwitz," "Rabbi and "Dreidel" were among those used during the game to call audibles. 

“We are shocked and offended at these allegations of anti-Semitism and we call for a full scale independent investigation," ADL New England regional director Robert Trestan said in a statement shared with USA TODAY Sports. "It is deeply hurtful to the Jewish community to learn that plays on the field were connected to the Holocaust and Judaism. There are indications of a systemic failure both on and off the field. We are working with Duxbury officials as this investigation proceeds.”

General view of a football prior to a game. (Photo: Matt Kartozian, USA TODAY Sports)

The anti-Semitic language was used to call plays during Duxbury's season opener on March 12 against Plymouth North High School. Head coach Dave Maimaron was not on the sideline for Duxbury's March 19 game and is not expected to return while the school's investigation is underway. 

"On behalf of the staff and players of the Duxbury High School football team, I want to extend my apology for the insensitive, crass and inappropriate language used in the game on March 12th," Maimaron said. "Using the term was careless, unnecessary and most importantly hurtful on its face — inexcusable. The staff and the team have been transparent and cooperative with administration during this time, and we have taken responsibility for the incident. We are dealing with this as a team and focusing on the lessons we can learn from this."

In a letter addressed to families Monday, Plymouth principal Peter Parcellin said Plymouth players could hear the "highly offensive" language being used by the Duxbury players for their play-call system. Parcellin said that the words were not directed to Plymouth players or coaches but they did report the incident "directly with their school administration."

"As a special education teacher and a coach, with a multi-racial family, I have a lengthy record of helping students and athletes of all races, religions and capabilities to become the best they can be," Maimaron said. "I view the football field in particular to be the largest classroom in the school and have developed an inclusive program that welcomes, and makes part of the team, any student who wishes to participate."

Contact Analis Bailey at [email protected] or on Twitter @analisbailey.

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