US high school fires football coach after anti-Semitic play calls

Dave Maimaron had apologized after team used terms such as ‘Auschwitz,’ ‘rabbi’ and ‘dreidel’ to signal game tactics

Former head coach of Duxbury High School's football team Dave Maimaron (video screenshot)
Former head coach of Duxbury High School's football team Dave Maimaron (video screenshot)

DUXBURY, Massachusetts (AP) — A Massachusetts high school fired its successful football coach and hired an outside consultant Wednesday to assist an investigation into reports that the team used anti-Semitic language, including a mention of “Auschwitz,” in its on-field play-calling during a recent game.

“The outrage is real, warranted, and we hear it,” Duxbury High School’s administration said in an emailed statement. “The fact that members of our school community used such offensive language, including anti-Semitic language, is horrifying and disappointing.”

In response, the school has “severed ties” with head coach Dave Maimaron and canceled this Friday’s game against Hingham, said the statement, signed by four members of the administration, including district Superintendent John Antonucci.

Maimaron, a special needs teacher at the school, had released a statement this week in which he apologized.

“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,” he said. He called the language “careless, unnecessary and most importantly hurtful on its face — inexcusable.”

The district has also hired Edward Mitnick of Just Training Solutions LLC to assist in the investigation. Mitnick is an attorney and investigator with 30 years’ experience in such matters.

“We know from many conversations, emails, and online posts that many people want action now, and we appreciate that sentiment. However, we are still in the middle of an active investigation and it is important that we get accurate information and facts in this case,” the statement said.

The announcement came the day after Robert Trestan, president of the New England Anti-Defamation League, called for an independent investigation. Trestan said he was told by Antonucci that the words “rabbi” and “dreidel” were also used in Duxbury’s March 12 game against Plymouth North. Plymouth school officials alerted Duxbury about the matter.

“It’s deeply hurtful to the Jewish community to learn that the plays somehow connect to the Holocaust and Judaism,” Trestan said. “This is a really serious situation. There are indications of a systemic failure both on and off the field.”

The insensitive words were not directed at the opposing team or at a particular player, Antonucci said.

Massachusetts high school football is being played in the spring this year because the coronavirus pandemic caused postponement of the fall season.

Duxbury in recent years has been one of the state’s most successful teams, with five state championships since 2005. The affluent coastal community about 30 miles south of Boston has nearly 16,000 residents, according to the Census Bureau.

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