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Friday, March 16, 2012

All The News That's Fit To Leave Unprinted...

Consider this story from a few days ago:
Detroit King's comfortable win turns uncomfortable
Detroit -- Dennis Norfleet was still working his magic when the ugly side of crowd banter turned Detroit King's blowout victory over Warren DeLaSalle uncomfortable.
King was on its way to a 72-50 blowout in the Class A regionals at Cass Tech when King fans chanted, "Nah! Nah! Nah! Nah! Heyyy! Good byeeee."
The chants went back and forth until the DeLaSalle student section took it to another level — "We've got futures. We've got futures."
Later they chanted: "Flip our burgers. And you are stupid."
You would think the schools from the Catholic League would have learned a lesson months after an anonymous "ghetto legends" letter made its way to Detroit Cass Tech after a victory over Catholic Central in the state football finals.
King supporters were shocked, and some of the packed crowd became agitated. A man wearing DeLaSalle colors angrily talked to one of the student leaders, lectured him and left.
At least someone got it...
At this point, I thought I had gotten most of the relevant information about this story: I have lived in the area all my life, so I felt I was congruent with most of the important background info. (I have no idea what the "ghetto legends" letter might be, other than some racist b.s. from an unknown source... although the writer of the article seems to assert that the Catholic League has some knowledge about it. "Ghetto legends" could be the name of a song, and it could be a euphemism for some other expression, just as " saggin' " was a euphemism in its time.)

However, this story was followed by another story... and comments:
Warren DeLaSalle apologizes for inapropriate chants toward Detroit King
Warren DeLaSalle administrators have apologized for inappropriate chants directed toward Detroit King fans by DeLaSalle students during a Class A regional semifinal at Detroit Cass Tech on Monday.
The Detroit News reported that during the second half of King's 72-50 victory over DeLaSalle, DeLaSalle students chanted, "We've got futures," and "Flip our burgers."
DeLaSalle athletic director Brian Kelly admonished the students' behavior after these chants and sent a formal apology to King High on Tuesday.
"We are sorry," Kelly said. "We are embarrassed. I'm sending a letter of apology and congratulations to King.
"We are talking about kids being stupid, not a school's culture."
Kelly said he received numerous telephone calls and emails expressing outrage.
Alvin Ward, director of athletics for Detroit Public Schools, was at the game and said he did not hear the chants but soon became aware of them based on the reaction of King's parents and supporters.
"I only saw the reaction from the fans," he said. "Kids will be kids. I have to leave it to the DeLaSalle administrators to deal with the situation."
Then the comments (from both articles):
(note: I believe DeLaSalle's colors are purple and yellow, and they seem to be wearing their Home team whites in the picture.)
(1) DLS has recycled the same chants for years and used them on multiple schools of varying backgrounds. It doesn't matter if it is King, Mott, Cousino, Brother Rice, CC, Trenton the chants are the same. You know what we get in return. "You are gay", "We have girls", "Purple Pansies" etc. EVERY SINGLE GAME. We threw out "flip our burgers", I can almost guarantee King students chanted "you are gay". It is a constant pattern. It goes both ways, every game. The article makes DLS seem like a villain when in reality, it is just another high school. The problem is at a level much higher than one school and I believe the article does a poor job of illustrating that.

(2) Absolutely the truth! I graduated from DLS in '07 and we heard the "Purple Pansies" chant at every sporting event. This article is definitely one-sided.

(3) John Mehall Back in the 1970's my brother roomed with a kid from Delasalle at MSU. They were using those cheers then. He used to tell us what they would say to the opposing teams.

(4) Go ahead, pick on the catholic school! They are high schoolers! What about chants like, "SOAP ON A ROPE," or "DOn't DROP THE SOAP," or "PURPLE PANSIES" that we get from other school. Just because it involves a Detroit school it has to be made into a big deal. De La Salle is a prestigious school that teaches students morals, respect, religion, and most importantly how to be a man. Hence, the motto "Builders of boys, Makers of MEN!" I AM VERY PROUD of graduating from DLS. GO PILOTS! Keep up the good tough work!

(5) Whats funny is these same chants have been used for years in our district..even when I played in 2002-2004 against them..they said it against my school mott in the finals...who cares in all in good because its a its offensive? Give me a break

(6) You can never win a contest (argument) of any kind with anger and stupidity. And I society in which you will be growing up, you will need everyone to have a future. Soon, those of us who are currently in the majority will no longer prosper from that status. Soon, two groups (Hispanic and Black) will out-number us. And unless we find ways to help those from different walks of life become prosperous as we are from that which we believe is only ours, we are doomed to lose it. Remember: Paybacks are Hell!

First, I used to play on sports teams up through second year of University, and I certainly went to a large number of sporting events. In fact, my parents used to take us every week end to watch the University of Detroit play basketball at the U of D Memorial Building (as it was called at the time), the same building where I first saw Wilt Chamberlain play for Philadelphia, and I was sitting right down on the floor so close I could almost touch him. (The NBA did not exactly draw big crowds back then, so seats on the floor did not cost extra... I think the entire audience was seated on the hard wood.)

Second, the sexual nature of some of the chants referred to in the comments seem to be about the Catholic schools being separated by gender; DeLaSalle is all boys, Regina (Warren) is all girls.
It does not have anything to do with the fact that the Christian Brothers operate it. It was the Christian Brothers in Australia that got such well-deserved rotten press. I used to play basketball at DeLaSalle when it was in Detroit, right across the street from Detroit City Airport. (Most people would say that I am one of the few who would imediately flash on the Christian Brothers... that's the way my mind is.)
Of course, back then, our chanting was pretty much orchestrated and controlled by the Augustinians (my first high school) and the Basilians (my second high school) and their running-dogs, the cheerleaders! We had a repetoire of sanctioned chants available for most situations, just as the commenters seem to be saying still exists, and we dared not stray from it.

Third, "flipping burgers" is not a racial slur, nor is saying that someone is dumb. There always was a lot of trash talk among spectators. It's part of the adrenalin. It is the main reason I do not particularly enjoy watching sporting events; I had played many years, and the adrenalin was expended in vigorous endeavor and exercise; having an adrenalin rush while sitting on a couch eating potato chips is not my idea of fun... I find it disconcerting.

Fourth, I was impressed by this Democracy of Opinion. Without reading all the articles and all the comments, I would have walked away from this series of articles with a skewed impression of things: I needed the input of the commenters to remind me of important facts from the past and the present which the article did not have time, space, nor desire to include.
And this is a small paradigm of democracy: getting everyone's opinion and coming to an understanding.

This mention of democracy is important to me because I often feel we are losing our democracy to interest groups.
I have often felt over the past few months that various influential and rich interest groups were spending their way into yet another war in the Middle East, a war with Iran.
I knew what would have happened just five short years ago, when many people around George W. Bush were pushing for such a war, since they were running out of time before the 2008 election, and they had their last good chance at Armageddon...

Democracy... true Democracy with good people of all races and creeds... is always better.

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