ORCUTT, Calif. - A video of a group of Righetti High School students chanting 'where's your passport' at Tuesday night's basketball game against St. Joseph is going viral on social media, sparking questions about racism and reigniting accusations of recruiting.
The Santa Maria Times recording shows Righetti students making the chant
toward St. Joseph just before the buzzer of the regular season finale between the two teams.
The Knights won the game 74-57 victory over the Warriors Tuesday night.
Some people are accusing the Righetti fans of being racist over the chant, while others point out that there are players from outside the continental United States on the Knights team.
One player from France is on the St. Joseph roster along with three players from Puerto Rico, which is a territory of the United States. Residents of Puerto Rico do not need passports to be in the continental U.S.
A representative from the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District released the following statement to our newsroom, emphasizing that there were comments made by both sides:
We are aware of the unacceptable comments exchanged from both sides of the basketball court during the heated rivalry between St. Joseph and Righetti High School Tuesday night. The incident is being addressed by SMJUHSD and RHS school officials. We have no further comment at this time.Kenny Klein - SMJUHSD Public Information Officer
St. Joseph athletic director and head basketball coach Tom Mott has faced recruiting accusations in the past.
Mott resigned from the same job at Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo after a
2006 investigation revealed he recruited several players, including one student from Puerto Rico.
That school had to vacate two titles as part of its punishment.
This is not the first time Righetti has indirectly taunted St. Joseph over
alleged recruiting. On February 7, a school athletic Twitter
account praised its students for recent league championships without recruiting.
St. Joseph's High School released the following statement to our newsroom.
We are disappointed about the way the boys basketball game against Righetti High School ended on Tuesday night. We do not tolerate any type of inappropriate statements made at any student especially if they could be interpreted as disrespectful. We hope that this can be a lesson in sportsmanship and mutual respect for students from both schools.Statement from St. Joseph High School