The district athletic director is taking immediate action to address unsportsmanlike conduct that occurred during a basketball game
POTTSTOWN PA – Throughout the fall football season, the Pottsgrove High School student cheering section – like the Falcons team itself – won the admiration of its counterparts in the Pioneer Athletic League. The group was colorful, boisterous, enthusiastic, fun. It also was respected for all those qualities, even by members of the district Board of School Directors, which during one meeting publicly praised students’ good behavior.
It apparently was not the same student cheering section, according to more than 60 e-mails and comments Wednesday (Dec. 12, 2012) on social media platforms, that turned out for Tuesday night’s (Dec. 11) basketball game between Pottsgrove and Pope John Paul II. Several in that group, spectators reported, loudly and repeatedly taunted opposing players, made rude remarks, and were otherwise unsportsmanlike.
The nature of the jeers are known to The Post but will not be published because of their offensiveness. Later, they resulted in a student’s public apology.
The district has taken immediate steps to correct the problem, Athletic Director Gary DeRenzo said Wednesday evening. “We also received reports … about our students and their actions,” DeRenzo acknowledged. “We are very disappointed in the behavior of a few of our students, and are addressing the lack of sportsmanship and character from those individuals.”
“Our student section chanted something very mean and personal. And we made a girl cry from it,” one Pottsgrove student confessed on Twitter. “Of course it was horrible and not the best move on Pottsgrove’s part.”
“Pottsgrovians always say Pottstown is so bad, but look what y’all did tonight,” a second added.
“Yo, Pottsgrove High School is harsh these days,” a third chipped in.
Cell phone messengers responded from the other side of the court, too. “Way to go, Pottsgrove. You reached an all-time low with that one,” one PJPII watcher replied.
A number of students singled out for unseemly behavior have already heard personally from school officials, DeRenzo said. He also met with Pottsgrove’s security service “and outlined the expectations we (have) here at Pottsgrove and will enforce at each of our home games.” In coming days, he added, “I intend to make contact with each of my fellow athletic directors and make sure we are all on the same page as far as spectator decorum.”
“We take great pride in good sportsmanship and good character,” DeRenzo noted. “It appears that (Tuesday) night, some of our students had a lapse in judgment in that area. We will be diligent as we move forward making sure all of our spectators understand there is no place for any derogatory behavior at any scholastic event. On behalf of the Pottsgrove community, I apologize for our students and can assure all that we will address good sportsmanship.”
Perhaps the more important apology, though, came from a Pottsgrove student, published late Tuesday night on Instagram.
“I’m sorry for starting that chant,” he wrote. “People were talking about it and I decided to be the one to do it. I don’t know why. It was rude and immature. I don’t even know the girl or the real story behind it. No one deserves to have a whole group of people disrespecting her. I realized it was wrong. If I knew the girl, I’d apologize personally. Again, I’m sorry.”
Editor’s note: this story was re-edited Thursday at 11 a.m. to remove perceived discrepancies and errors.