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JONATHAN KHAMIS, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Mater Dei's starters were on the bench and near their fans late in Friday's victory at Servite.

Update: Racial taunts directed at Mater Dei players (video)

Update: Racial taunts directed at Mater Dei players (video)

OCVarsity.com
:
Servite's president says students made 'racist noises and/or remarks' during Friday's game.
Servite students who directed “racist noises and/or remarks” toward Mater Dei boys basketball players, were removed from the game and were disciplined, Servite president Peter Bowen acknowledged Thursday.

Bowen said the Servite administration met with the school's student body and now seeks to meet with Mater Dei representatives after the incident in Friday's varsity basketball game at Servite.

Bowen said via e-mail that Servite students, as part of their “Pit Crew” student-cheering section, did make the noises and comments during the Friars' game against Mater Dei, the top-ranked team in the nation which has two starting players, Gary Franklin and Tyler Lamb, who are African-American.

“Several students in the pit crew made racist noises and/or remarks during the Mater Dei-Servite basketball game,” Bowen wrote in the e-mail. “The students were immediately removed from the game by administrators and disciplined.

“Servite is working to meet with and apologize to Mater Dei. On Tuesday, the entire school met for 1 1/2 hours to discuss the incident, reassert true Servite Christian values and ensure this mistake is never repeated.”

Bowen did not elaborate on the noises and comments. But several Internet message board posts have reported that monkey sounds could be heard during the game.

Brian Wojtkiewicz, a longtime Mater Dei supporter and parent of Mater Dei students, said he was at the game and heard the sounds.

“There were monkey calls when Franklin had the ball,” Wojtkiewicz said. “’Who’s your daddy’ when Lamb had the ball, that sort of thing.”

The monkey sounds can be heard on a short video on ocvarsity.comwhen Franklin is dribbling the ball.

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said he did not hear the comments or sounds.

“I was too wrapped up in the game to hear anything,” McKnight said. “But I heard about some of it later.”

Mater Dei administration Thursday did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

The Servite Pit Crew is well known for its chants and antics, especially so for home basketball games against the school's top rival, Mater Dei. Among the more famous actions was the delivery of a pizza box to Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight. Recalling the pizza delivery, McKnight later quipped, “I opened the box, but it was empty. I would have eaten the pizza just to play along.”

Mater Dei beat Servite last Friday, 101-71, in a Trinity League game. Mater Dei is a coed Catholic school, Servite is an all-boys Catholic school.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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