A sad day for sports

Nov. 12, 2008, midnight | By Greg Kohn, Anshul Sood | 15 years, 5 months ago

Over four years of high school, most students have the chance to attend at least one sporting event, if not many. And every time, students hear this message: "An important mission of the interscholastic athletics program is to teach and reinforce values relating to sportsmanship, competition, and fair play. It is expected that team personnel, parents, and spectators respect this mission by exhibiting appropriate behavior at athletic events," or something of that nature. Yet an incident at a varsity boys' soccer game this year defied those expectations.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, the Blazers were playing at Churchill. The Blazers built an early 2-0 lead but ended up losing the game 4-3 late in the second half. While the score upset the Blazers, there was something that upset them even more. Senior co-captain midfielder Mikey Funes brought it to our attention that throughout the entire game, Churchill fans were constantly chanting derogatory names to Blair players regarding race - names that will not be mentioned here.

It goes without saying that this is completely unacceptable at any level of sports, especially at the high school level where the level of competition is lower than at the college or professional level. Churchill's population is largely white, as is their soccer team, while the Blair team is very diverse with players of many different ethnicities. These are student athletes playing for their schools and for the love of sports, and there is no room for racism on the field.

What's more, a group of parents were with the rowdy students and they did nothing to censor the inappropriate language. Some players even say that those parents were showing tremendous disrespect to the game officials, more than the normal abuse referees take from fans. Look, we understand that when the home team is down the fans get a little anxious and talk trash to the other team. But racist comments are way over the line and much worse than the traditional "You guys suck!"

Derogatory comments are tasteless and hurtful. "It was disappointing and painful to hear those remarks," Funes said. "I'm proud of our team for playing hard and, for the most part, ignoring their racial comments. However, I can't understand that even the presence of parents right beside them did nothing. They faced no consequences, and that's not right."

This is not meant as an attack on Churchill or their fans, but more so directed to those specific fans who undertake in racial name-calling. Racism has no place in sports on any level. Next time you are at a game, listen to that MCPS statement in the beginning and take it to heart. Sportsmanship is important and so is respect for the other team and their fans. And to those students who chant derogatory names at sports games - show some class.

Greg Kohn. Greg Kohn is a native Marylander. He's lived in one house his whole life, played soccer since before he could talk, and loves to chant "09" when it's really quiet. He hates being called Gregory, and he wishes he were more organized. He was a … More »

Anshul Sood. Anshul is a very laid-back person, a real take-it-easy kind of guy. He often burns time listening to music, playing music, watching some sports game, or playing some sport. Recently, he has entered into the world of running, though he is not very good. However, … More »

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