Catholic high school students chanted, “You killed Jesus” at a basketball game against a predominantly Jewish high school in a Boston suburb on Friday night.
During the playoff contest between Catholic Memorial School and the public Newton North High School, fans of the latter began shouting, “Sausage fest!” at the opposing team, an off-color reference to the fact that CMS is an all-boys institution.
In response, the Catholic fans repeated, “You killed Jesus, you killed Jesus,” spectators at the event said.
The Catholic fans’ cheer was a reference to Jewish deicide, the charge that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus Christ.
“We are appalled at the behavior of some fans during Friday night’s game and are deeply concerned about why they thought this chant was appropriate at a high school basketball game,” Robert O. Trestan, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England Region, said in a statement.
“Hate speech has no place in the stands of any sporting event,” Trestan said.
The Catholic school’s principal, Peter Folan, told The Washington Post he was “deeply disturbed” by the chant.
“CM faculty and staff acted immediately to stop the behavior. Administrators from both schools and representatives from the MIAA discussed the incident. At the conclusion of the game, CM students were reprimanded and each student personally apologized to the Principal of Newton North High School and shook his hand before leaving the arena,” Folan said.
Credit to the CM administration absolutely scolding its fans. Made every fan apologize to the Newton North principal just now.
— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) March 12, 2016
In 1965, the Catholic Church issued the Nostra Aetate declaration, which stated that Jews were not to be discriminated against or harassed, despite the fact that some Jews did call for the death of Jesus some 2,000 years ago.
“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 Nostra Aetate declaration said.
CMS principal Folan noted that his school had also been ridiculed with unkind chants during the game, and said, “We will work diligently within our own community and with other schools to end this abhorrent behavior. We apologize for the actions of our students and we will continue to strenuously address this issue within our community.”
Catholic Memorial School won the game, 77-73, ESPN Boston reported.