Facebook insults by Los Gatos football players stir controversy

November 7, 2010 — by Sabrina Cismas

With the football team ending its 27-year regular season losing streak to Los Gatos on Oct. 22, happiness and pride still radiates throughout the school. However, unsportsmanlike conduct on Facebook centered around a handful of Los Gatos players highlighted the trouble that this over quarter-century rivalry could bring.

Seniors Kevin Darchuk and Tim Lycurgus formed a group on Facebook in the week before the game, hoping to garner more excitement and school spirit.

“It just started out pretty normal,” Darchuk said. “We only invited kids from Saratoga, but then the Los Gatos kids found out about it and they started joining and writing things on the wall.”

Principal Jeff Anderson said a few Los Gatos players crossed the line with overzealous foul language and racist remarks against the Saratoga players on the site.

Anderson said that once the Los Gatos players got involved in the group, SHS students responded with only one negative comment.

“[The comment] was pretty innocuous, and it wasn’t focused on anybody’s race and it wasn’t profane,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t in the same league as the comments that were coming from Los Gatos.”

Assistant principal Karen Hyde was concerned about the group even before the worst of the remarks were said, but she did not think that intervention was necessary at that point.

“It wasn’t the school’s Facebook [group], so the school isn’t responsible for it,” Hyde said. The Saratoga administration was unaware of the group’s existence until the Los Gatos administration got involved.

The Thursday before the game, once the comments had been posted, Hyde said she got a call from the Los Gatos administration who had learned about the controversial group and wanted the SHS student who had created it to delete it.

“I got a hold of Kevin, and the group was down in seconds,” Hyde said.

No SHS football players or students were punished, as none of them were at fault, Hyde said. Anderson was unable to confirm what punishments the Los Gatos players received.

Whatever those punishments were, all the Los Gatos players still played against Saratoga on Oct. 22.

Anderson speculated the behavior may have occurred because of desperation and nervousness. For a team that has beaten Saratoga for so long, Los Gatos should have been confident in its ability.

“Because they came back so venomously [on the group], I think they might have known in the back of their minds that they might have had a chance of being defeated,” Anderson said.

In the end, Darchuk said, the Los Gatos players were forced to apologize to him and Lycurgus.

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