Students at an elite prep school in Ohio will be made to apologize to players from a nearby school after they were filmed chanting a string of racist remarks at a recent basketball game.
During a game against rival St. Xavier High School last Friday, students in the Elder High School cheering section bombarded Xavier player Nate Stockman, who is part Asian, with chants of “P.F. Changs” and other racial taunts.
“It was ‘Hey No. 2, open your eyes,’” Nate’s mother Susan told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “’Hey, No. 2 can you open them bigger?’ Then when he went to do his free throws they started yelling ‘USA USA.’”
Stockman was not the only Xavier player to be on the receiving end of Elder students’ slurs. As Bobby Jefferson, who is black, prepared to shoot a series of free throws, he reportedly heard students call out, “he can’t read,” “he smokes crack,” and “he’s on welfare.”
According to a press release from Elder principal Kurt Ruffing, the game “had to be interrupted at one point so that the students could be reprimanded by school officials for their actions.”
Mina Jefferson, Bobby’s mother, claimed that the response from school officials was decidedly less proactive than Ruffing had suggested. According to Jefferson, the racist chants lasted the entire first half of the game, and only stopped once Xavier coach Jimmy Lallathin called upon the referees to do something in the third quarter.
“If no one complained, I have to wonder what would have happened,” Jefferson told local station WCPO.
According to Ruffing, a school assembly was called on Tuesday morning—the first day of classes since the Friday evening game—to discuss the seriousness of the situation. Speaking with WCPO, he said his school would not repeat Friday’s incident, claiming, “What we did was wrong, and we will not do it again.”
Ruffing also told the station that he planned to take the students who participated in the racist chants to Xavier to apologize directly.