[Watch previous FOX 8 News coverage in the player above.]
BROOKLYN, Ohio (WJW) — An attorney for the Ohio football coach who resigned after players used the term “Nazi” in play calls pushed back against what he considers a wrongful termination.
It happened during Brooklyn High School’s game Friday, Sept. 22, against Beachwood High School. In a statement Saturday, that district stated “players used a racial slur freely throughout the night.”
In a statement released Thursday on behalf of resigned Brooklyn High School head coach Tim McFarland, attorney Peter Pattakos said the term has been commonly used for decades to signal an opposing blitz at all levels of American football. He called the outcry that led to McFarland’s resignation “political correctness run amok.”
The notion that the use of this term in last Friday’s football game implies any antisemitism or intent to offend on the part of McFarland or any of the Brooklyn High players, coaches or community is not only false but absurdly so. The term ‘Nazi’ is by no means an anti-Semitic slur. As a matter of historical fact, the term ‘Nazi’ is well known to describe a notorious German political party that, after coming to power in Germany, employed aggressive military attacks known as ‘blitzkriegs.’ The term ‘blitz’ has long been a commonly employed term in the militaristic sport of American football, which is derived from this Nazi-era German military term, to describe similarly aggressive tactics by defensive players.
While McFarland is mindful of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in the Holocaust leading up to World War II, the idea that someone would be offended by hearing the commonly used pass-protection call ‘Nazi’ at 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.
At that point, McFarland immediately instructed his team to stop using the term, and told the Beachwood coaches that he would personally apologize to any players who were offended. The Beachwood coaches told him that an apology would not be necessary, and the game then continued to completion.
Attorney Peter Pattakos, on behalf of Tim McFarland
McFarland handed in his resignation on Monday, Sept. 25, according to the district. Pattakos on Thursday said it was because district officials “demanded” it.
“Now a group of kids at a local public school are left without their beloved head coach, leader and mentor in the middle of their football seasons. Those responsible — especially the Beachwood politicians who are using this incident to score cheap political points for themselves — should be ashamed of themselves,” Pattakos wrote. “McFarland is weighing all legal options available to him against those who caused this extremely damaging and defamatory firestorm.”
Read the full statement below:
The Ohio High School Athletic Association appeared to back Brooklyn City Schools’ decision to break with McFarland in a statement released to FOX 8 News on Tuesday.
“The OHSAA expects that the school will not have any similar issues moving forward, as offensive language has no place in sports at any level and goes against the values of sportsmanship, respect and education-based athletics,” it reads.