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Investigation finds ‘systemic’ use of anti-Semitic slurs by Duxbury football program

DUXBURY, Mass. — An outside investigator found the use of anti-Semitic terms, including “Auschwitz,” “rabbi” and “dreidel,” was a trend with the Duxbury High School football program for a decade.

“There was evidence suggesting that the use of this language was a systemic issue and had happened at practices potentially as far back as 2010,” wrote attorney Edward R. Mitnick.

A five-page summary of Mitnick’s findings was released Thursday by Duxbury Superintendent John Antonucci. Mitnick, hired by the school district in March, interviewed 52 people, including current and former football players, parents and coaches. His complete 56-page report will not be made public, Antonucci said.

“The following summary report has been prepared...and constitutes the maximum disclosure we believe is possible under applicable state privacy laws,” Antonucci wrote to the school committee.

Mitnick determined the football team used Jewish-related words like “Auschwitz”, “rabbi”, “dreidel”, “yarmulke” and “Hanukkah” for play calling. The trend started between the 2010 and 2012 seasons, Mitnick concluded.

“The use of seemingly benign religious terms for plays and nicknames is no less appropriate than using words commonly associated with racial or ethnic cultures,” Mitnick wrote.

During his investigation, Mitnick found the coaching staff also used “sexually offensive jokes and innuendo” in front of players. Homophobic slurs were also used on the sidelines, the report said.

The disturbing trend came to light in March when Duxbury players were accused of using racist language in a game against Plymouth North. An offensive lineman called out “Auschwitz” to refer to a blocking scheme, the report said.

The school fired longtime head coach Dave Maimaron and canceled several games, returning to the field Apr. 15 to play Scituate.

The district said its football players participated in a Holocaust presentation by a third-generation Holocaust survivor. District staff will attend Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training during the 2021-2022 school year.

Further disciplinary action could be taken against some employees, but because of privacy laws, the district will not make the discipline public, Antonucci said.

“I thought the whole thing was horrifying,” said Andrew Kusmin, a 76-year-old Jewish man from Plymouth. “It’s a sad commentary, a lack of education of young people and letting it go on for another generation.”

“People who have been aware of this for a long time have to step up, probably admit it, and take whatever consequence comes. It’s not to be swept under the rug,” Kusmin said.

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