Fans of a Catholic high school chanted “You Killed Jesus” at opposing players from a public school with a large contingent of Jewish students Friday, in an ugly incident that has some parents and other observers demanding an investigation, The Washington Post is reporting.
Sports rivalries can get ugly, and the barbs traded between fans – even fans of high school sports – can sometimes get a little crude. But the antisemitic chanting by the Catholic school’s fans was so upsetting that ESPN writer Brendan Hall, who was covering the game, was appalled.
I am serious. MIAA should consider fining schools whose fans use hate speech. I’m sick of dealing with these stories https://t.co/WDm0qGlnAO
— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) March 12, 2016
Here’s what happened:
On Friday night, the all-boys Catholic Memorial School was playing Newton North High School, a well-to-do suburban Boston public school with a large population of Jewish students, at a third high school’s gym. Some of the Newton fans chanted “Sausage Fest” at the Catholic Memorial fans – a crude reference to the fact that Catholic Memorial is an all-boys school.
Catholic Memorial NLI signees Brandon Twitty (Stonehill bball) and Curt Bletzer (Boston College football) pic.twitter.com/VAc57cQoNH
— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) February 3, 2016
Fans of the Catholic boys responded with an even more vulgar and crude chant.
“You killed Jesus! You killed Jesus!”
The notion that modern, living Jews are responsible for Jesus Christ’s crucifixion has been at the heart of antisemitism for centuries – and it’s a hateful and vulgar belief from which the Catholic Church has distanced itself since at least 1965.
The Church’s document, Nostra Aetate(“In Our Time“), released in 1965, made it clear, specifically and in writing, that the Catholic Church rejects all forms of antisemitism – including equating Jews with “Christ-killers.”
“True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.”
Ironically, just this week Boston’s Archbishop, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley spoke to leaders of Boston’s Jewish community, commemorating the 50th anniversary of that document.
Clearly, the fans of Catholic Memorial High School didn’t get the memo.
Some fans in the crowd that night were clearly upset by the antisemitic chanting.
Probably craziest high school chant ever
Newton North fans chant: “sausage fest, sausage fest”
CM fans response: “You killed Jesus”
— Dirty Dan (@Dtf617) March 12, 2016
If you chant “You Killed Jesus” to a predominantly Jewish school you’re gonna have a bad time. https://t.co/oM1j3bxiNj
— Matt McClintock (@mlmcclin) March 12, 2016
Another fan, who asked not to be identified, said her parents were survivors of concentration camps during World War II. She also noted that she was from Skokie, Illinois – a predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb. Back in 1978, a group of Nazis wanted to march through the town. Town officials tried to stop the march, but the Nazis prevailed in court and were allowed to march.
Today in history: in 1978, Illinois Supreme Court rules Nazis can display a Swastika in a march in Skokie. Vile. pic.twitter.com/2UmpXyEPQ4
— Michael W. Freeman (@Freelineorlando) January 27, 2016
To be fair, the school administrators at Catholic Memorial were just as upset about their fans’ behavior as some in the crowd were. According to Brendan Hall, school administrators “scolded” the fans and made them apologize to the Newton North principal.
Catholic Memorial went on to win Friday night’s game, 77-73, and will advance to the state finals.
As of this writing, it is not clear if the organization that monitors high school sports in Massachusetts plans to investigate Friday’s antisemitic chant or punish the school in any way.
[Image via Shutterstock/Aspen Photo]