FAIRFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) –A heated high school lacrosse game is catching attention for all the wrong reasons.
CBS2 first showed exclusive video of hateful, anti-Semitic chants from the sidelines and now, the Anti-Defamation League has gotten involved.
The fans from Fairfield College Preparatory School were loud and offensive, bringing religion into a lacrosse game against Staples High School in Westport last week.
Chants ranged from “we have Christmas” when the Jesuit school had the ball, to shouts of “Happy Hanukkah” when the opposing team — which is a third Jewish — had the ball and scored.
Other fans joined in and alarmingly, nobody stopped it.
“It’s really disgusting,” Andy Friedland, Assistant Director of the ADL of Connecticut said. “You’re at a lacrosse game, no reason to point out players’ religions.”
Friedland adds that it’s important to make sure people understand the impact of their words.
In a closed door meeting on Tuesday, the ADL met with leaders at Fairfield Prep along with local rabbis including Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn who says the president of the school took full responsibility.
“He started off essentially by apologizing to us and to the Jewish community,” Wiederhorn said.
More meetings are planned, but the superintendent of Westport Schools wants to know why no one stepped in to stop the anti-Semitic behavior.
“Speaking with our athletic director, I’ve asked him to interview the referees,” Superintendent Colleen Palmer said. “If you can’t control a crowd by talking to them you have to take control of the situation.”
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference says there will be no discipline of referees. While they have the authority to stop the game, it’s up to designated school representatives to control the fans.
“A bystander might see something like that and say ‘it’s not my problem’,” Friedland said. “An ally would stand up and say ‘hey, that’s not okay’.”
Fairfield Prep will only say discipline will he handled internally, but alumni and parents have expressed outrage online. For the second day in a row, representatives from the school refused to speak on camera with CBS2.
The ADL says the number of incidents like the one seen at Fairfield Prep is on the rise of late.