Political hate speech reaches the basketball court

Meanness is in in America these days. And, slowly, so is the utter lack of sportsmanship by fans at high school basketball games.

Over the weekend just outside of Boston, the students from Catholic Memorial High School taunted the fans of Newton North High School during a basketball game. The chants between the two started innocently enough and grew in intensity and vulgarity until Catholic Memorial went “nuclear” with the kids from the heavily-Jewish Newton North.

“You killed Jesus,” they chanted.

“They might not have meant it so personally, but you should think about things before you speak,” Nate Hollenberg, the senior captain of Newton North told the Boston Globe. “That hurts. They’re coming at my religion, at who I am, a big part of me. That’s just not right.”

Catholic Memorial administrators promised to update the curriculum at the school to teach more about Judaism.

“Can these students be blamed for getting a mixed message about what constitutes appropriate language and conduct when it comes to religion or other differences between us?” Globe columnist Joan Vennochi asks in her column today.

I’m not saying Trump instigated the “You killed Jesus” jeers. But the demeaning language Trump has been hurling at rivals in the name of presidential campaigning certainly sets a much-noted low bar of civility. And Trump has pointedly declined to denounce any of the poisonous rhetoric spewed by his supporters — which included a shout of “Go to Auschwitz,” directed at protesters, from one backer at a recent Kansas City rally.

The Republican presidential front-runner mocks critics of his profanity and insults as purveyors of political correctness. And he continues to make religion and ethnicity a dividing line between Americans. “Islam hates us,” he declares, as he pledges to keep Muslims and other undesirable immigrants out of this country.

That’s the message from the leading Republican contender for the White House. Of course, Trump’s not responsible for every word uttered by every backer. His supporters are adults, and he is not their principal. He can’t give them detention, but he can show disapproval. He chooses not to.

This is the second time this month that a basketball game has featured the rhetoric of the new politics.

In Indiana, fans of Andrean High School in Merrillville held a large image of Donald Trump and shouted “build a wall” during their team’s game with the heavily Hispanic Bishop Noll Institute. Both are parochial schools.

In a statement, the Diocese called it a “teachable moment.”

“This is a teachable moment for everyone about responsible speech, social media and sportsmanship. Perhaps (the incident) was an unfortunate byproduct of irresponsible speech in today’s political arena. (We) are proud of our students. We are proud of our diversity.

Our diversity is our strength. Bishop Noll will continue to educate our students in faith, social justice and to always respect all people, regardless of race, creed or socioeconomic status.”

As for the kids at Catholic Memorial, their team played the high school championship at TD Garden yesterday, but the students weren’t there. The school administrators banned them from attending.

Some students took to Twitter to ask Donald Trump to intervene.

Related: ‘Yellow Cards’ To Be Given To Unruly Fans In N.D. Region 1 (WDAY)