PJP team sus­pended for post­ing of­fen­sive video

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Austin Hert­zog ahert­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @AustinHert­zog on Twit­ter

Mem­bers of the Pope John Paul II girls bas­ket­ball team were sus­pended Fri­day af­ter a video was posted to so­cial me­dia of play­ers singing a song with of­fen­sive lyrics Thurs­day night.

All play­ers re­ceived a one-game sus­pen­sion, as did first-year head coach TJ Lon­er­gan.

The in­ci­dent took place on the team bus af­ter the Golden Pan­thers’ win over Owen J. Roberts in a Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence play­off quar­ter­fi­nal on Thurs­day, Feb. 7.

“The mat­ter took place on the bus and in­volved team mem­bers singing a song con­tain­ing lyrics that are highly of­fen­sive and fea­tur­ing con­tent that runs counter to the moral teach­ing and ideals of the school com­mu­nity,” said Arch­dio­cese of Philadel­phia Chief Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer Ken Gavin in an email. “Team mem­bers filmed the ob­jec­tion­able ac­tiv­ity and (placed) it on so­cial me­dia, which rep­re­sents a vi­o­la­tion of the Ac­cept­able Use of Tech­nol­ogy pol­icy.”

The song on the video was “Kanga” by 6ix9ine, ac­cord­ing to sources.

The Pope John Paul II ad­min­is­tra­tion be­came aware of the video on Fri­day evening and de­liv­ered the sus­pen­sions. Team par­ents were in­formed of the vi­o­la­tions and sus­pen­sions on Fri­day night.

“Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­ter­mined that each player will serve a one game sus­pen­sion, served ei­ther on Fe­bru­ary 9th or the next sched­uled game,” said Gavin. “All play­ers will at­tend and dress for each game. The coach­ing staff was tasked with de­ter­min­ing which play­ers will serve sus­pen­sions for which games.”

On Feb. 9, the Golden Pan­thers faced Spring-Ford in a Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal. PJP’s “next sched­uled game” is a Dis­trict 1 Class 5A play­off game on Tues­day, Feb. 19. Un­of­fi­cially, No. 11 seed Pope John Paul II would travel to No. 6 seed Great Val­ley. Pope John Paul II held out eight play­ers — its five starters and first three off the bench — for the PAC semi­fi­nal on Feb. 9. The re­sult was a non-com­pet­i­tive 71-21 Spring-Ford vic­tory.

“The ac­tions of the team and the na­ture of their be­hav­ior is deeply con­cern­ing and con­trary to the ex­pec­ta­tions and ideals to which PJP stu­dents are held,” stated Gavin. “This dis­ci­plinary ac­tion holds the team ac­count­able while in­di­vid­ual stu­dent dis­ci­plinary ac­tions may be taken af­ter the school has com­pleted its re­view and as­sessed fur­ther po­ten­tial Stu­dent Hand­book vi­o­la­tions.”

It is the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive school year Pope John Paul II High School has re­quired dis­ci­plinary ac­tion for an of­fen­sive video be­ing posted to so­cial me­dia.

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