The Green Valley High School boys basketball team got a bit more than it bargained for Thursday night in its game at Bishop Gorman.
The Gators won 78-76 but might have left with a bad taste in their mouths after comments that some Gorman fans apparently made.
A group of Gorman fans chanted at least one racial slur and another apparently racially motivated comment at a member of Green Valley’s team.
“I got wind of some things that were said that were a little out of line,” Green Valley principal Jeff Horn said. “I wasn’t there, but one of our deans was there. There were some things said that were inappropriate. I know he communicated that to (Bishop Gorman’s) administrators.”
It’s not clear whether the fans were current Gorman students, but the comments came from or near Gorman’s student section.
Several callers to the Review-Journal said they heard the comments.
“I didn’t see anybody go over there and tell (the fans) to stop,” said Allen Nichols, who coaches football and golf at Desert Pines High School and attended the game as a fan. “What they said was a racial slur. It was said with venom. It was unacceptable behavior, but more so was that the administration did nothing about it. It was disturbing.”
Not everyone heard what was said, though.
“I was at the game, and I heard nothing,” Gorman athletic administrator Peter Weinburgh said. “Our students chanted, and at the start of the game they used the ‘S’ word (sucks). We went over and told them that it was inappropriate and to stop it. They did, and we moved on. We had an administrator sitting 5 feet from them for the rest of the game.”
Weinburgh also said no Green Valley administrator said anything to Gorman’s administration about the fan behavior during the game.
“I’m not even sure what happened,” Green Valley boys basketball coach Christian Svendsen said. “I didn’t hear anything, but I was so focused on the game that I didn’t hear the crowd at all. I take care of what goes on on the court and let the administrators deal with what goes on off the court.”
Students told Svendsen about the comments on Friday morning.
“None of my players said anything during or after the game,” Svendsen said. “I don’t have personal knowledge of it.”
Horn said the comments didn’t appear to adversely affect the Green Valley athlete, a black student.
“I think he was just happy that we won the game,” Horn said.