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Duxbury High School

The Duxbury, Massachusetts High School football head coach Dave Maimaron was fired on Wednesday after it had been revealed that the team was using “anti-Semitic terms” for its audibles, the Boston Globe reported (Duxbury football game vs. Hingham canceled after use of anti-Semitic terms by Duxbury players).

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According to Liveabout.com, when a football team’s offense is ready to run a play but decides at the last second to change what it’s going to do, it calls an audible at the line of scrimmage. It is a verbal instruction that can slightly change the predetermined play, or completely scrap it for something else. A quarterback often calls an audible when he doesn’t like how the offensive play that was called matches up with the defensive formation.

The Globe reported that on March 12, during a game against Plymouth North, the Duxbury players used “anti-Semitic language and a Holocaust-related term” to call audibles. They used the words Rabbi, Dreidel, Auschwitz.

Duxbury schools superintendent John Antonucci said, “It has become clear that members of the Duxbury High School football team did, in fact, use anti-Semitic and potentially other inappropriate and derogatory language.”

Coach Maimaron was absent from the sideline for Duxbury’s game against Silver Lake High School on March 19 and will not be back, at least until after the investigation into his colorful audibles is concluded. On Monday, Maimaron issued a statement saying, “I want to extend my apology for the insensitive, crass, and inappropriate language used in the game on March 12th. The use of this language was careless, unnecessary, and most importantly hurtful on its face – inexcusable.”

The Rev. Catherine Cullen, president of the Duxbury Interfaith Council, said this was the first test of the town’s commitment to an anti-discrimination proclamation enacted last February by the local Rotary club in response to the Black Lives Matter movement (see: The Origin of Duxbury for All).

On Wednesday, Mass. state senate president Karen Spilka said the Duxbury incident was “appalling” and called for “accountability for everyone responsible, and for those who knew about this and failed to stop it.” She tweeted that this is “more than just a ‘teachable moment’ – we need sustained, increased education – among administrators, educators, coaches, officials, referees, and students – so that this never happens again.”

The Anti-Defamation League of New England executive director Robert Trestan on Tuesday called for “a full-scale independent investigation” of the Rabbi-Dreidel-Auschwitz scandal and said in an interview: “It’s deeply hurtful to the Jewish community to learn that the plays somehow connect to the Holocaust and Judaism. This is a really serious situation. There are indications of a systemic failure both on and off the field.”

Is this yet another side of Cancel Culture but with Jewish-related words? Possibly. It’s difficult to ascertain why calling a football maneuver “Rabbi” is anti-Semitic, same for “Dreidel” – which brings to mind a player twirling around with the football until he lands on Gimel. As to Auschwitz as an audible – you must have heard of the “Blitz” maneuver in football. During a blitz, a bunch of defensive players rush the opposing quarterback in an attempt to tackle him or force him to make a bad throw. The term comes from the German Blitzkrieg, a method of warfare where the attacker spearheads an offensive using a rapid overwhelming force.

In 1939, Football started using the term “bomb” for a long passing play, when the passer throws the ball to the receiver deep in the field. In fact, because of its obvious relation to warfare, Football has been borrowing military terms forever (see Christine Ammer’s Fighting Words: Military Terms That Apply to Sports).

I wish Duxbury, Massachusetts, a happy Passover – no, wait, could that be mistaken for an anti-Semitic audible? Dang. And I was going to suggest using Afikoman for when the quarterback fakes handing over the ball but actually keeps the ball and finds a hiding place for it when the players go to the kitchen to wash for Hamotzi.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.