BROOKLYN, Ohio — The former Brooklyn high school head football coach tells News 5 he had no bad intentions when his team used the word “Nazi” as a call during a conference game with Beachwood High School.
“It really bothered me when they said we had people and children who were offended and upset by this. That’s why I immediately apologized to their coach,” said coach Tim McFarland.
Beachwood Bison players told their coaches they heard Brooklyn Hurricanes players use “Nazi” as a play call during their home game Friday night. McFarland said game officials made him aware that the term was offensive to some opposing players, and he said he offered to issue an individual apology.
“If they wanted me to, I would go straight to their bench and apologize to the whole team or any player that was upset. And if they didn’t want to do that, I would come to their locker room at halftime and apologize. They didn’t think it was necessary,” McFarland said of his conversation with Beachwood officials and coaches.
Beachwood is home to a large Jewish population and in recent years has been the site of several alleged anti-Semitic incidents, according to the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation.
Many Beachwood players, families and community leaders told News 5 they found the language offensive and unacceptable.
“It was so negative and so unwarranted,” one parent said in an interview Tuesday.
McFarland changed the play call in the second half when play resumed Friday. He said he was shocked by the outrage in both communities that followed the match. On Monday, the Brooklyn City Schools Board of Education accepted his resignation.
Brooklyn Superintendent Dr. Ted Caleris told News 5 he had extensive conversations with the coach over the weekend and after accepting McFarland’s resignation he thought it was for the best.
“School officials asked him to resign and implied that if he didn’t resign he would be fired,” Peter Pattakos, an attorney retained by McFarland, told News 5 Thursday.
The lawyer calls the situation that led to his resignation a sign of “political correctness gone mad” and said the use of the word “Nazi” during a football game against a team in Beachwood was “not in in no case an anti-Semitic insult.” “
“The idea that the use of this term during last Friday’s football game implies anti-Semitism or intent to offend on the part of McFarland or any of the Brooklyn High players, coaches or community is no only false, but absurd,” Pattakos said. said in a statement released Thursday.
Two communities still reeling from “Nazi” insults during a football match
McFarland and Pattakos said “Nazi” was a commonly used play call. They stated that it was used to alert teammates of an impending blitz by the opposing defense, as the footballing term “blitz” is itself a reference to “blitzkrieg”, a war maneuver employed by Germany Nazi. And they highlighted its use in a 1990s document from the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
“It lists ‘Nazis,’ number one on a blitz call list. There’s ‘Nazi,’ ‘Bandit,’ ‘Renegade,’ ‘Loco,’ ‘Indian,’ and ‘Mascot,’” Pattakos said, reading from the document.
“Even though McFarland is aware of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust that preceded World War II, the idea that someone would be offended by hearing the commonly used call to protect one’s pass “Nazi” during an American football game had not occurred to him until his counterparts on the Beachwood sideline brought the issue to his attention in the second quarter of last Friday’s game,” Pattakos said in the press release. At that time, McFarland immediately asked his team to stop using the term and told Beachwood coaches that he would personally apologize to any offended players. Beachwood coaches told him that an apology would not be necessary, and the game then continued. Upon completion.”
Beachwood Superintendent Dr. Robert Hardis said the term was not used during the second half, but near the end of the game the home team reported that several Brooklyn players had used the slur racists all night long.
McFarland said he was not aware of any racial slurs used by his players.
“If we had a player who acted inappropriately, we would remove him from the game,” McFarland said.
Beachwood leaders called for accountability. Brooklyn’s superintendent said the district was working with the Ohio Anti-Defamation League to “learn and grow” from the incident.
McFarland said he didn’t want the controversy to define the team, the school or his career.
“I coach football to help young men become manly and grow. It’s not about insulting people and making fun of people,” he said.
You can read Pattakos’ full statement below:
“My client Tim McFarland is shocked and dismayed by the series of events that led Brooklyn City School officials to demand his resignation as head football coach on Monday. These events, which were the subject of a flood of local and national press smearing McFarland as racist and anti-Semitic, the result of offensive linemen on the Brooklyn college football team using the term “Nazi” to warn of an impending blitz of the opposing defense during last Friday’s game against Beachwood High School.
Anyone with experience playing American football knows that players on both sides of the ball routinely bark single-word coded calls down the line to change play calls or formations before the ball is snapped. Peyton Manning’s “Omaha” cry is a famous example. Similarly, the term “Nazi” is a call commonly used by football players in Ohio and probably throughout the United States for decades, including at the high school level, to alert teammates of an impending blitz of the opposing defense. I remember this term being used this way by high school football teams when I played for Revere High in the 1990s. And this can be further verified by the attached excerpt from a document provided during a popular coaching clinic held by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association in the 1990s, which listed the term “Nazi” among five calls for “control blitz” and described it as a “call to alert the QB that an outside coverage person is moving into a blitz position.”
The idea that the use of this term during last Friday’s football game implies anti-Semitism or intent to offend on the part of McFarland or any of the Brooklyn High players, coaches, or community is not only false, but absurd. The term “Nazi” is in no way an anti-Semitic insult. From a historical perspective, the term “Nazi” is well known to describe a notorious German political party which, after coming to power in Germany, resorted to aggressive military attacks known as “blitzkriegs”. The term “blitz” has long been a commonly used term in the militaristic sport of American football, derived from this Nazi-era German military term, to describe equally aggressive tactics by defensive players.
Even though McFarland is aware of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust that preceded World War II, the idea that someone would be offended by hearing the commonly used call to protect one’s pass “Nazi” during of an American football match had not occurred to him. until his counterparts on the Beachwood sideline brought the issue to his attention in the second quarter of last Friday’s game.
At this point, McFarland immediately asked his team to stop using the term and told Beachwood coaches that he would personally apologize to any offended players. Beachwood coaches told him an apology would not be necessary, and the game then continued to completion.
That should have been the end of this story. The fact that this is not the case is simply absurd and represents a particularly unfortunate example of political correctness run amok. Throughout human history, atrocities have been committed by various groups of people against other groups. In no other context do we intend to prohibit and punish references to these groups. For example, as a proud Greek-American, I cannot imagine being offended at the mention of the Turkish people who massacred millions of Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians just decades before the Nazi genocide against the Jews . Should Mongolian grills be banned in the United States and Mongolian beef removed from all restaurant menus because of the atrocities committed by Genghis Khan? Should any American football coach, player or fan who uses the word “blitz” lose their job and also be called an anti-Semite? This appears to be the case for those in the so-called “Anti-Defamation League” whose true mission appears to be to defame as many people as possible using baseless accusations of anti-Semitism to generate fundraisers for their own benefit. and for perceived political benefit.
McFarland — who has been a well-respected high school football coach in northeast Ohio for more than four decades — is also disappointed with Brooklyn high school leaders who demanded his resignation despite knowing he was an honest man who had neither the intention nor the cause for such a resignation. harm anyone involved in these events. He prays for a better world where common sense can be restored and these problems are not blown out of proportion.
Finally, it is particularly ironic that a representative of the Anti-Defamation League was quoted in a New York Times article on this story as having “offered to serve as a resource” to Brooklyn City Schools to “promote understanding and tolerance. Where was the “understanding and tolerance” for McFarland and the students in his charge, who simply used a long-established football term straight out of an ancient playbook? and commonly used? Now, a group of kids at a local public school find themselves without their beloved head coach, leader, and mentor in the middle of their football season. Those responsible – especially the Beachwood politicians who are using this incident to score cheap political points – should be ashamed of themselves. McFarland is evaluating all legal options available to him against those who caused this extremely damaging and defamatory firestorm. »
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