Monday, January 27, 2014

Is Pittsford, NY Schools Superintendent Mike Pero Downplaying and Defending Racist Chant Targeting Brighton Basketball Player? (UPDATED)

Pittsford, NY Schools Superintendent Mike Pero
"Student at Pittsford meant no harm."
By Davy V.

Pittsford, NY Schools Superintendent Mike Pero seems to be defending a racist chant by a Pittsford-Sutherland High School Student directed at an Indian Brighton High School varsity basketball player.

During the varsity game which was held at Pittsford-Sutherland High School on Friday, the Pittsford student, who was sitting in the stands began leading a chant yelling "We want Slurpees!", while the Indian player was at the free throw line.

The chant, a reference to the player's culture was directed at people of Hindu descent who own 7-11 convenience stores, where Slurpees are sold.

Once the student initiated the chant, other Pittsford-Sutherland High School students and fans also began repeating it while clapping.

The group which can be heard in the video clip below yelling "We Want Slurpees!" is known as the Pittsford-Sutherland "Super Fans."

As disturbing as the incident is, equally as disturbing is how Pittsford Schools Superintendent Mike Pero seemed to downplay the seriousness of the racist chant by his student.

"We're trying to find that balance between appropriately disciplining someone who was in a leadership role and finding a way to find the right type of discipline for those who were in the follower-type role," Pero said during a news conference where he and Brighton Schools Superintendent Kevin McGowan sat side by side.

Then, Pero, describing possible discipline options said that the important thing is "that the boy that was at the foul line would know and feel a little better that the student at Pittsford meant no harm."

"We're trying to find a balance..."?

"Meant no harm"?

Are you kidding me?

Brighton, NY High School player
at free throw line was target of racist chant
by Pittsford-Sutherland student and fans.
A Pittsford-Sutherland High School student targets an Indian basketball player because of his race, and immediately begins yelling a racist chant, which other students and fans immediately join in on, and Pittsford Schools Superintendent Mike Pero downplays a disturbing incident by saying that the student leading the racist chant "meant no harm"?

As for the young man who had to endure racist Pittsford-Sutherland students and fans yelling a sick and racist chant, he handled the situation better than some would.

"It's my understanding that he carried himself with great dignity and grace and continued to play basketball,” Brighton Schools Superintendent Kevin McGowan said.

"He really focused on the task at hand and seemed to be aware certainly that it happened, but was focused on the game.” 

One thing that's clear is that Pittsford, NY officials, including School Superintendent Mike Pero, as well as the Pittsford community in general don't want this attention and spotlight on their little town.

The video which was posted on YouTube disappeared just as soon as this disturbing incident went public.

Which is why the video was removed.

"thaSuperfans" Twitter account
I did my own searching on the internet, and I found the "Sutherlands Fans", or "thaSuperfans" Twitter page.

Their Twitter account, which was created on September 16, 2013, boasts tweets bragging about the Pittsford-Sutherland sports teams, along with some tweets encouraging fans to come out and support games.

One interesting photo on "thaSuperfans"
twitter account is of an altercation between an
"gettin into it with some
AQ punk last week"
Aquinas High School player, and a Pittsford-Sutherland player, with the caption, "gettin into it with some AQ punk last week #KnockingBodies #HePutsOnForHisCity"

The Pittsford-Sutherland "thaSuperfans" logo is a yellow and black Super Man style symbol with a letter "f" in the center.

The shirts were sold at Valenti Sports, a sporting goods and apparel store located in Brighton.

I spoke with Phillip Valenti, owner and vice-president of Valenti Sports.

Interestingly, Valenti is a 2001 graduate of Pittsford-Sutherland, and he played on the school's basketball team.

"We don't condone things like that, it's unfortunate what happened' said Valenti.

"When I was there, diversity was prominent, and the superfans were kept on a tight leash."

Valenti told me that the Pittsford-Sutherland Superfans have always been a way for the school's students to support the players and teams.

Pittsford-Sutherland High School
"Tha Superfans" t-shirt.
"I think it would be upsetting if they got rid of the group," said Valenti.

"That's not necessary, it gives the students something to do." 

But is there more to the "Superfans"?

I get the part about supporting your team.

But when you personally target and attack someone based on their ethnicity, that is unacceptable.

Someone called into a local radio show and made a very good point.

The caller said if that had been an African-American player at the free throw line, and students in the stands began to yell "We want watermelon!", would that be tolerated?

Of course it wouldn't.

And neither should this.

Contact Pittsford, NY School Superintendent Mike Pero (585) 267-1000

Click Play below to watch video, which I have uploaded to my YouTube channel to expose this disturbing incident.

Listen for "We want Slurpees!" chant.

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