Is Trump to Blame for Students Chanting "Where's Your Passport?"
Print Friendly and PDF

Here’s a story that’s starting to get national attention (here’s the New York Post) for the usual reasons. See if you can figure out what the real story is. From the Los Angeles Times:

‘Where’s your passport?’ chant breaks out at prep basketball game in Santa Maria
FEB. 12, 2020 8:21 AM

A high school basketball game between two Central Section rivals took an ugly turn Tuesday night, as a chant from one of the student sections led to a confrontation between administrators from the schools.

Just before the final buzzer of St. Joseph’s 74-57 victory over visiting Righetti in the regular season finale for the two Santa Maria teams, some fans started chanting, “Where’s your passport?” According to the Santa Maria Times, the chant came from the Righetti student section and was apparently directed toward St. Joseph players.

St. Joseph is a private school with a racially diverse student population. The boy’s basketball team’s roster includes one player from France and three from Puerto Rico.

“I did have an emotional reaction to that” chant, [St. Joseph principal] Dougherty told The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. “I have an Ethiopian daughter — and all these students are my children — so it is personal to me.”…

“I want this school to be safe for my students,” she said.

St. Joseph coach Tom Mott, who is also the school’s athletic director, told the Santa Maria Times immediately after the final buzzer, “Anything our crowd or their crowd does is just part of the game.”

On Wednesday morning, Mott clarified to The Los Angeles Times that he wasn’t aware of the controversial cheer at the time he made that comment.

“Obviously any type of inappropriate cheer by anybody isn’t something we welcome in our gym,” he said. “Any type of racism, whether intended or not, has no place in our community.”

Dougherty said she holds “no animosity” toward Lyon or anyone else at Righetti, a public school located across the street from St. Joseph.

Okay, the story is a little confusing because it’s hard to keep straight whether Righetti or St. Joseph is the private Catholic school and which is the public school.

Santa Maria is a fast-growing farm/exurb-type city of now 108,000 north of Santa Barbara. California’s central coast is one of the nicer places to live in the US (average high temperature ranges from 63 in January to 73 in August), but most of the towns are locked down tight by environmentalism and thus places like San Luis Obispo are lovely and expensive. In Santa Maria, however, more sprawl is allowed so it’s more blue collar. My guess is that it’s far enough inland so that the California Coastal Commission isn’t in charge. If you are driving through the area, you are more likely to find reasonably priced chain restaurants and chain motels in sprawling Santa Maria than in boutique towns like Santa Ynez.

So, not surprisingly, the public Righetti HS in Santa Maria is only 24% white and is 67% Latino. Meanwhile, private St. Joseph regularly features players from distant lands.

The local Santa Maria Times is reporting this story from a very different angle than the national outlets looking for Trump Caused Hate:

St. Joseph’s Tom Mott has grown accustomed to rumors of recruiting
Joe Bailey Feb 12, 2020 Updated 4 hrs ago

A certain word seems to follow Tom Mott wherever he goes.

Mott has made his peace with that.

That word? Recruiting.

Mott, who has coached boys basketball at St. Joseph High School since 2009, has heard the whispers in gyms around the area for years.

Tuesday night, the whispers turned into shouts as Righetti High students chanted “Where’s your passport?” apparently aimed at the St. Joseph basketball players who are from out of the area. St. Joseph has a player from France and several from Puerto Rico.

An international roster is nothing new for Mott at St. Joseph, though the Knights usually rely on a mix of local talent to win games.

St. Joseph High School administrators on Wednesday dismissed the notion that a chant from a group of Righetti High School students at the end …

JoJo Walker, now a junior playing at the University of Portland, starred at St. Joseph after arriving from Carolina, Puerto Rico. There’s been a slew of players from Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. territory, or other countries play for the Knights under Mott. There’s Bebe Vargas (Dominican Republic), Marcus Gomis (France) and Gabrys Sadaunykas (Lithuania), among a few others.

Mott resigned from his coaching and athletic director position at Mission Prep in 2006 after a scandal of unearthed recruiting violations. Mission Prep self-reported that Mott had made contact with a player and his family in Puerto Rico and then sent an application to that player in order to have him enroll in school and play basketball for the Royals.

You generally aren’t supposed to recruit athletes at the high school level, but of course successful coaches do. In fact there are now “high schools” (usually with “academy” in their name) that are largely just all-star basketball teams with a few textbooks. For example, Oak Hill Academy in Virginia has had 24 players reach the NBA including Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. The International Management Group Academy in Florida, where the Williams sisters went to study tennis, has had 9 students drafted.

St. Joseph isn’t like that, but you can understand why the students at the local public school give the private school across the street a hard time for recruiting basketball players from around the world.

And no it’s not Trump’s fault.

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF