A Cleveland-area high school football coach resigned Monday after he and his team repeatedly used the word “Nazi” as a playing reference during a game Friday night, school officials said.
Coach Tim McFarland, who led the Brooklyn High School football team, and his players used the term in the first half of the game against Beachwood High School, Beachwood Schools Superintendent Robert Hardis said in a statement. Brooklyn High School, from the southwest Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn, was playing as a visiting team in Beachwood, Ohio, a predominantly Jewish suburb southeast of Cleveland.
After Beachwood High School officials, including the athletic director and head coach, learned what was happening on the field late in the first half of the game, they notified the game officials, Mr. Hardis said.
Mr Hardys said Mr McFarland acknowledged his team was using the word “Nazi” as a play call, apologized and said his team would use another word for the play call in the second half of the match.
“We have informed officials that if this continues, we will withdraw our players from the field,” Mr Hardys said. “To our knowledge, the word ‘Nazi’ was not used during the second half. Late in the game, our team also reported that several Brooklyn players freely used racist slurs throughout the night. It did not specify what the slur was.”
The coach expressed “deep regret about the matter and extends his sincerest apologies to the Beachwood and Brooklyn school communities,” Brooklyn City Schools Superintendent Theodore Calliris said in a statement Tuesday announcing Mr. McFarland’s resignation.
“Even though the district knows the language was not directed at any specific individual, Brooklyn City Schools acknowledges that using such offensive language in the first place was completely and utterly wrong,” he added.
Mr. McFarland did not respond to a phone message and email on Tuesday seeking comment.
It was unclear who decided to use the term in the play call for Friday night’s game. It was also unclear whether players or other members of the coaching staff would face discipline.
Michael Baker, Brooklyn High’s athletic director, did not immediately respond to a phone message and email Tuesday seeking comment.
This incident occurred at a time of increasing anti-Semitic incidents. The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, said in a report that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2022 was the highest since 1979, when the organization began recording such acts, including online and verbal harassment and physical attacks.
Brooklyn City Schools has been contacted by the Anti-Defamation League, which has offered to serve as a resource “to promote understanding and tolerance,” Mr. Caliris said.
The Anti-Defamation League of Cleveland said on Facebook mail on Sunday that “there is no place in sports for Holocaust references and racist insults.” “Student-athletes must be placed in a position to better reflect their school’s commitment to inclusive and fair play,” she added.
The Brooklyn High School football team also drew criticism from city officials in Beachwood.
“Brooklyn’s behavior violates the standards and expectations of behavior that should be taught to every student,” Beachwood Mayor Justin Burns and the City Council said in a joint statement Sunday.
The mayor added: “We applaud the Beechwood Football Team, who have taken the right action by denouncing this behavior while continuing to uphold their high standards of conduct.”
“Devoted travel trailblazer. Freelance beer scholar. Passionate analyst. Hardcore twitter fanatic.”