DUXBURY — In the wake of controversy over Duxbury High School football players’ use of anti-Semitic language to call plays in a game earlier this year, the district’s superintendent says a report shows the language has been used for more than a decade — and coaches knew about it.
Duxbury Public Schools Superintendent John Antonucci released a summary Thursday night of a report that was commissioned by the district to investigate the football team’s behavior and practices. Antonucci said the report shows players have likely used the offensive language since at least 2010.
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“There was evidence to suggest that the use of this language was a systemic problem and had occurred in practices possibly as early as 2010,” Antonucci said in his abstract. “sufficient and credible evidence was found to support the conclusion that the coaching staff was aware of the use of such terms during practices.”
Although the language was used in practice, the report says it didn’t appear to be used in games until this year, according to Antonucci.
The report, prepared by outside investigator attorney Edward R. Mitnick of Just Training Solutions, LLC, was ordered after Duxbury players used words like Auschwitz during a March 12 game against Plymouth North High School. Auschwitz was a Nazi concentration camp in Poland where at least 1 million Jews were killed in World War II.
antonucci said the report involved at least 52 different witnesses.
the detailed report that, in addition to the word auschwitz, players used other words related to Judaism during the game in game calls such as “rabbi” and “dreidel”, and that the pattern of those words that were used probably introduced between 2010 and 2012.
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antonucci said the report also showed “there was significant and credible evidence to support the finding that a sophomore culture of profanity and profanity exists within the duxbury football program.”
said the language included homophobic and sexually offensive jokes that were approved by the coaching staff. the report said the team also celebrated mass at a Catholic church and used Christian prayers, in violation of district policy.
School officials fired the team’s head coach Dave Maimaron from his coaching job in March and placed him on paid administrative leave from his position as a special education teacher.
In a statement released Friday, maimaron said he apologized previously and apologizes again.
“As head coach, I was responsible for the words, actions and behavior of all my coaches and players,” Maimaron said.
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told players that game calls with Jewish-themed words came up, and that he should have stopped it.
“the use of the terms ‘rabbi’ and ‘dreidel’ was pioneered several years ago by Jewish members of the football program as a nickname for the play called ‘rabbit’. they claimed, ironically, that Jewish culture was ‘underrepresented’ in the soccer program,” Maimaron said. “I was aware that these particular terms, ‘rabbi’ and other terms associated with the Jewish faith, were being used by gamers. In hindsight, from the beginning, I should never have allowed the derivation of any game call based on a theme. Jew…that was my mistake and I admit it.”
antonucci, who is leaving the district for a new job in north attleboro, said the 56-page report could not be released due to privacy concerns and the personnel information it contains. he also said that several people who may have had direct knowledge refused to participate.
The team and coaching staff have taken a number of steps to correct the behavior, including diversity training and meeting with the family of a holocaust survivor.
“while there are no excuses for what has occurred, moving forward is the mission and goal of duxbury public schools, working with the community at large, to foster and create a diverse and inclusive educational environment, both in our classrooms and in our athletic and co-curricular programs,” Antonucci said.
This story has been updated to clarify a description of Auschwitz.
patriot ledger reporter wheeler cowperthwaite contributed to this article.
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joe difazio can be reached at [email protected] follow him on twitter @jldifazio.