A rivalry clash in boys basketball between Righetti High and St. Joseph High, two Central Section programs, ended in a shameful way Tuesday night. The game was the regular-season finale for both programs.
With St. Joseph in command of the ball game with only a few moments before the buzzer sounded, some fans in the stands began chanting, “Where’s your passport?”
According to the Santa Maria Times, the chant came from the Righetti student section and was aimed at some St. Joseph’s players. Righetti was the visiting team in Tuesday’s 74-57 loss.
According to the Times, St. Joseph’s boys basketball roster contains one player from France and three others from Puerto Rico, which is an unincorporated territory of the United States.
In a tweet from the Santa Maria Times sports editor, St. Joseph’s principal, Erinn Dougherty, is seen walking toward the crowd waving her arms and yelling in response to their chant after the final buzzer sounded.
She was escorted back to her sideline, visibly upset by the sequence of events.
St. Joseph, a private Catholic school, is located just across the street from Righetti, less than half a mile away.
Kenny Klein, a Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Public Information Officer, released a statement on Wednesday, which read: “We are aware of the unacceptable comments exchanged from both sides of the basketball court during the heated rivalry between St. Joseph and Righetti High School Tuesday night.
“The incident is being addressed by SMJUHSD and RHS school officials. We have no further comment at this time.”