Duxbury Dragons and death camps

Almost more shocking than the news of Duxbury High School’s football team using terms like “rabbi” and “Auschwitz” for its line-of-scrimmage audible play calling is the fact that it apparently was not a new thing. 

The Boston Herald reports that “the use of anti-Semitic and other offensive language by Duxbury players and under the purview of the coaching staff has been going on for multiple years.” Yet nothing had been done to stop the practice of teenage quarterbacks barking out the name of a death camp where 1 million Jews were slaughtered until officials from Plymouth North High School blew the whistle following their team’s March 12 game against the Dragons. 

Call it a watered down version of the banality of evil. Or yet another example of the Holocaust-amplified concept of the “bystander,” someone not directly involved in perpetrating a horrible deed, but who appears passively indifferent to its occurrence. 

The Duxbury football coach, Dave Maimaron, has now been fired, and he’s been put on leave from his teaching post with the school district. 

“It is important to note that while the players clearly demonstrated poor judgment, the responsibility for this incident also lies with the adults overseeing the program,” the school district said in a statement. “In short, this was a systemic failure.”

The incident is doing nothing to help the region’s reputation nationally when it comes to issues of tolerance, understanding, and race. 

Two days after the New York Times marked Kim Janey’s historic ascendance into the Boston mayor’s seat by revisiting the racism that pervaded the city’s school desegregation days in the 1970s, the paper has a Duxbury piece (by former Globe reporter Michael Levenson) on the casual anti-Semitism in a wealthy Boston suburb. 

State Sen. Barry Finegold, a Jewish one-time high school and college football player, invited the Duxbury team to meet with him. He cited a recent similar offer from Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, who is also Jewish, to an NBA player who used an anti-Semitic slur. Finegold said he was not looking to “villainize” the players, but instead to foster what could be an “important learning experience.” 

Residents in the well-off South Shore town shared a mix of opinions with Globe reporters. Some supported the coach’s firing, while others suggested it was an overreaction. 

“They’re 16-year-old kids, they’ll learn,” said one resident who thought the incident was overblown. 

What exactly he meant by that isn’t clear. When it comes to acquiring an understanding of the history of the Nazi’s Final Solution, there are troubling signs. Results released last fall from a nationwide survey of adults under 40 showed a “worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge.” 

Among the findings from what was billed as the first survey of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z, nearly half were unable to name a single concentration camp or ghetto established by the Nazis. 

The Duxbury football team would ace that one, though it’s hardly something to brag about. 

MICHAEL JONAS

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

Gov. Charlie Baker is not interested in vaccine mandates for public-facing workers like State Police and correctional officers — at least for now. He also criticizes government officials in Washington for jumping the vaccine line. Read more.

The Supreme Judicial Court rules Attorney General Maura Healey can get access to Facebook documents in her pursuit of information on improper use of users’ personal data. Read more.

Sen. Barry Finegold of Andover, who is Jewish and played football in high school and college, invites the Duxbury High School football team to talk about its use of Holocaust-related terminology in practices and games. The school’s football coach was fired because of it. Read more.

Opinion:

During the pandemic we have seen illness in state government technology, and we wonder why the state that has the world’s finest computer science programs; that has local offices for Facebook, Google, and Amazon; and that had the ingenuity to develop the Moderna vaccine, cannot solve our government’s technology problems. Read more from Ed Lyons.

“I am thrilled to be getting back to normal life. My parents’ have had their vaccinations. The school district where I teach is calling students back to the classrooms. The normal cycle of life is returning just as the snow is melting. It all seems like it is part of the spring-rebirth cycle. Nonetheless, I shall miss my yearlong quarantine.” Read more from Michael J. Maguire.

 

FROM AROUND THE WEB

 

MUNICIPAL MATTERS  

Methuen is among the cities complaining it got short-changed by federal pandemic relief funding formulas, something the Baker administration hopes to address with state money. (Eagle-Tribune)

Kim Janey was sworn in as Boston’s acting mayor, becoming the first woman and first black leader of the city. (Boston Globe) She says she will announce in the next few weeks whether she will run for the job. (Dorchester Reporter)

Great Barrington officials are miffed that the nonprofit owner of the fairgrounds is refusing to meet with them after hopes for a race track at the site have faded. (Berkshire Eagle)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The Cambridge-based Broad Institute receives $300 million to launch a new institute to use artificial intelligence to fight disease. (Boston Globe)

Massachusetts joins a telabortion study. (GBH)

A state Department of Public Health study finds evidence strongly suggesting a link between childhood cancers in Wilmington in the 1990s and prenatal exposure to contaminated water in the town. (Boston Globe)

Attorney General Maura Healey joins striking nurses at St. Vincent Hospital on their picket line. (Telegram & Gazette)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

When it rains, it pours: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is now also accused of helping his family members get special access to coronavirus testing early in the pandemic when New Yorkers were struggling to get tested because of limited capacity. (Washington Post)

New York is poised to legalize recreational marijuana. (Marijuana Business Daily)

ELECTIONS

Republican lawmakers want more information about undeliverable mail-in ballot applications from last year’s election as the Legislature weighs making permanent changes to allow mail-in voting. (Boston Herald

EDUCATION

MassLive posts a database showing how much public school teachers earn across Massachusetts.

The state approved waiver requests from Boston and Worcester — the two largest school districts in Massachusetts — to delay the return to full-time in-person learning beyond the April 5 deadline that had been set. (Boston Globe)

A group of more than 30 black academic and religious leaders from across the country send a letter to Smith College President Kathleen McCartney urging a rethink of the way it handles racial allegations in the wake of a controversial 2018 incident where no bias was found. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts confines 242 students at an apartment complex to their units after 13 test positive for COVID-19. (Berkshire Eagle)

ARTS/CULTURE

The Huntington Theater is fast-tracking a $55 million renovation project, one of several theater construction projects taking place in Greater Boston. (Boston Globe

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The average power bill for Eversource customers will go up by about 4 percent, or $5.50 a month, starting in April. (MassLive)

MEDIA

Melvin Miller, publisher of the Bay State Banner, the long-established weekly newspaper covering Boston’s black community, rips “The Emancipator,” the new digital publication being launched jointly by the Boston Globe and Boston University to cover race issues. 

As more and more newspapers outsource their printing needs and sell printing plants, deadlines are getting earlier and earlier. (Poynter)