New video has been publicized from a New Jersey high school basketball game that occurred Jan. 27 between Dover High School and Jefferson High School, in which the Jefferson crowd shouted racially charged comments at a black Dover student-athlete during the pregame warmups, NJ.com reports.
Jefferson Superintendent Patrick Tierney apologized Monday after students “allegedly made racist and/or offensive statements directed at Dover athletes,” during the game. Meanwhile, Dover Superintendent Robert Becker issued his own statement shortly after, plainly stating that students chanted “Ashy knees” at a student-athlete, as well as “Build the wall.”
In the video, the Jefferson crowd can be heard shouting, “Ashy knees” as a black student player stepped to the free-throw line to take foul shots. At one point, one segment of the Jefferson area would shout “Ashy,” with the other segment following with “Knees.”
Ironically, the theme for that night’s basketball game was American pride, NJ.com noted, and several people in the crowd were dressed in items featuring the American flag. One person in the crowd waved a full-size American flag. The chants, combined with the flags, upset some Dover parents.
Michael Moore, one of the parents of a Dover basketball player, told the news site that he believed the Jefferson crowd wanted to disrespect Dover, which has a significant Hispanic and African-American population.
“Their intent was disrespect,” he said. “Not to promote the country as a whole.”
Moore also blasted the adults in the Jefferson group because they “allowed this and put this together.”
Moore told NJ.com that the entire game was marked by “a lot of hard fouls, dirty fouls,” and that at one point, a Jefferson player fouled a Dover player and stood over him “for an excessive amount of time,” as if to intimidate the player.
Meanwhile, the Jefferson school superintendent refuted the claim that the theme was politically motivated, saying that students had picked it two weeks before the game, which was originally meant to be against Mountain Lakes.
“We are currently doing the investigation,” he said. “There has been no discipline [of students] administered at this point.”
Tierney also said that while his students were wrong for chanting the racist comments, he believed that there was provocation from Dover.
“I’m not excusing this incident, but to say it was a one-sided incident is completely misleading,” he said (right).
Tierney said that two Dover parents approached a Jefferson student wearing a Trump shirt before the game and made inflammatory remarks. He said that the Jefferson student then shouted back, “Build the wall.” Tierney refuted claims that more than one student chanted the controversial phrase.
“I’m not excusing the comments or behavior of my children,” he said. “In my experience, kids who show up to cheer on games aren’t bad kids. These kids have school spirit, and they got caught up in the moment and they said something stupid.”
Read more at NJ.com.