There are hundreds of thousands of words in Merriam-Webster’s hardcover dictionary, plus an infinite number of expressions like team names and admired athletes that aren’t in the massive book.
Yet, with so many options at his disposal, the head football coach at Duxbury High in Massachusetts reportedly went with “Auschwitz,” “Hitler” and “Holocaust” for some of his audible calls.
Auschwitz, as in the Nazi concentration and extermination camp where at least 1.1 million Jewish people were mercilessly killed during World War II. Hitler, as in the man who ordered the construction of death camps like Auschwitz. Holocaust, as in one of the worst atrocities in human history.
Of all the words available to him, these are ones that Dave Maimaron had his Duxbury players use.
The problem with audibles is that it’s pretty easy for people at a game to hear them, especially in COVID times when attendance is extremely limited. That was the case earlier this month (the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association pushed the football season back due to the pandemic) when Duxbury played Plymouth North. Plymouth players and coaches heard the terms, and district officials went to Duxbury officials about the offensive play call choices.
After initially being suspended for the Dragons’ next game, this week Duxbury Public Schools fired Maimaron, who had been coach since 2005 and won five MIAA Super Bowls. The team’s game this week has been canceled, and the remainder of the season is in doubt.
There’s no valid reason that the words chosen should have been the words chosen. Football teams use all manner of phrases for audibles, some of them famous — think Peyton Manning’s “Omaha!” — and some of them cheeky — the Patriots have used “Linda!”, a nod to Bill Belichick’s longtime partner — and some simple, like using “Seattle” for a play headed left, and “Philly” for a play heading right.
Seemingly glorifying one of the most deadly and lasting eras in world history, one that saw the separation of families and mass murder of people solely for their religion is heinous.
Maimaron was also a special education teacher, and like racists who claim to have one Black friend and misogynists who use their wives/daughters/sisters as props, used that as justification for why he’s a swell, if possibly anti-Semitic, kinda guy.
“As a special education teacher and a coach, with a multi-racial family, I have a lengthy record of helping students and athletes of all races, religions and capabilities to become the best they can be,” he said in a statement released through a PR firm. “I view the football field in particular to be the largest classroom in the school and have developed an inclusive program that welcomes, and makes part of the team, any student who wishes to participate.”
What makes it worse is that while Maimaron’s statement seemed to intimate that the audibles used in the March 12 game were a one-time thing, at least one former Duxbury player told the Boston Globe those terms have been used in practices for years but not in games.
In practices but not in games, you say? Why would you use different audibles in practice but not games, thus potentially causing confusion among players? Could that be because those in charge knew how foul they were and using them in a game would let others in on the team’s nasty secret?
Someone somewhere, likely Maimaron’s supporters, will likely scream cancel culture run amok led to his firing, like those who show support the moronic Buffalo, N.Y. radio host who was fired from every job he held in the city on Wednesday after guffawing his way through a nauseating “joke” in which he used Black women of differing skin tones to describe how dark he likes his bread toasted.
That host and alleged comic, Rob Lederman, said “I may get in trouble for this” while he was spewing the foolishness he went on to get in trouble for, so he knew it was wrong.
And if Duxbury players used audibles like “Auschwitz” in practice but never before in a game, Maimaron knew it was wrong too.
Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” All of us make mistakes, and we all may say a phrase or word out of ignorance that wounds. And when it’s brought to your attention, you fix it and do the best you can to adjust your language.
But if you know better and you still forge ahead, as it strongly appears that Maimaron and Lederman did, you and only you put yourself in line for whatever consequences come your way.
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