SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Outrage is growing after two racially charged photos were posted by Cathedral Catholic High School football players, before and after a game last week.
In 1988, some Notre Dame football fans created controversial shirts that read ‘CATHOLICS VS. CONVICTS’ for a game against a University of Miami team plagued that season by several highly publicized arrests.
A T-shirt nearly identical to it made an appearance Friday night on social media, worn by a Cathedral Catholic football player after a win against Lincoln High, a school made up predominantly of minority students.
In the post, a white player wears the shirt which read ‘CATHOLICS VS. CONVICTS III.’
Written on the post were the words, ‘We run the city.’
A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego says before the game, another post showed several players pretending to flash gang signs.
“They are ignorant. It’s disgusting and reflects poorly on them,” said Tony Young, founder of RISE San Diego. “I know the parents and kids at Lincoln High really take pride in who they are. To be depicted that way is really disappointing. If we allow our youth to grow up with that type of ignorance, it will be detrimental to our community."
Diocese officials wouldn't comment on specific discipline, but says steps will be taken to "prevent this shameful event from reoccurring."
Young says along with the discipline, the school needs to address the underlying issues.
“The ignorance displayed … clearly there's something going on at that high school that needs to be addressed," said Young.
The diocese says it will be formulating some sort of program to help remind the entire school that words and actions matter.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego issued this statement from Kevin Calkins, principal at Cathedral Catholic High School:
“High school sports is supposed to be about having fun, building character and sportsmanship, and learning how to work together as a team.
This weekend, certain members of the Cathedral Catholic football team and others in the Cathedral Catholic community did the exact opposite, showing both poor character and bad sportsmanship by posting and reposting two different social media posts with blatant racist overtones aimed at the Lincoln High School community.
On behalf of Cathedral Catholic High School, we unreservedly apologize for the poor judgment shown by the students who posed for and posted the racist photos. We have also communicated our apologies directly to the administration at Lincoln High.
We believe strongly that actions have consequences. We will not comment on individual student discipline, but we will be taking steps to prevent this shameful event from reoccurring. We will also use it to remind our students and the entire CCHS community that words and actions matter, that our values as a Catholic school matter, and that we have to own and apologize for the wrong that was done to the players, students and community at Lincoln High School.”
The following email was sent to Lincoln High families by the school's principal, Stephanie Brown:
Dear Hornet Families and Community,
I'm saddened to share with you reports of discrimination and racism directed against our students before the football game at Cathedral Catholic High School, Friday night. Two troubling photos have been circulating on social media that disrespect our beloved school community.
Despite the unfair treatment of our students and coaches, our school maintained positive sportsmanship, maturity and professionalism. I am proud that everyone represented Lincoln with the integrity and character that we stand for as a school community.
The administration team is continuing to investigate the incident, and we are taking this very seriously. I have been in communication with Principal Calkins from Cathedral. They have issued a public apology that includes a commitment to take action against the offenders and will continue working to make sure this incident does not repeat.
We are asking Cathedral’s coaching staff, athletic directors, and the entire administration team to come to Lincoln High School to work collaboratively with our coaches and administration to bridge the gap between the two communities.
I am sorry to have to share such difficult news with you. We expect our students and staff to stand up against racism and hatred when they see it, and it's up to us responsible adults in the community to do the same. Our student athletes have been nothing short of impeccable, and so you have, our Lincoln families. Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you at our final game of the season this Friday!