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The Gazette KCRG
Posted September 24, 2011
UPDATE: Xavier player suspended for comment against City

Jeremy Johnson of Iowa City High stiff arms Cedar Rapids Xavier's Nick Hazelton during the first half at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids on Friday, September 16, 2011. Xavier suspended a player Saturday, Sept. 24, for a comment he made during this game. (Cliff Jette/SourceMedia Group)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Xavier has suspended an unidentified football player from the team indefinitely because of an unspecified comment he made during a game Sept. 16 against Iowa City High at Xavier, Athletics Director Mike Winker announced in a statement Saturday.

Sportsmanship had been a hot topic last week, when rumors abounded of possible questionable behavior in that game. Officials briefly stopped action in the third quarter of City High’s 52-24 win and addressed Iowa City High Coach Dan Sabers and Xavier Coach Duane Schulte about player conduct.

Sabers and City High Athletics Director D’Anne Kroemer told The Gazette last week they were concerned with things their players told them about the conduct of some Xavier players.

“No question our guys brought up some things that were very concerning. There appeared to be some legitimacy to them,” Sabers said. “Things happen in an emotional game, I understand that.”

The coach concurred when asked if his concerns were out of the ordinary and included spitting. He was specifically asked about possible racial slurs, as had been rumored.

“Based on what I was hearing, I would say there were concerns about some racial things being said, you bet,” Sabers said.

The coach said he expressed his concerns to Schulte after the game and that he bears no “ill feeling about Xavier” and that “we’re going to move on.” Kroemer talked with Winker last week and stressed to The Gazette the allegations should not reflect on Schulte and his program.

“There are always isolated incidents with sport. Sometimes passion just brings out some unfortunate things,” Kroemer said. “You’re disappointed. It is important for us as educators to instill in our players to treat each opponent with respect.”

Winker said last week that Xavier players denied using racial slurs and stressed that the school would never tolerate such action. Then came Saturday’s announcement of the player’s suspension. Winker declined to name the individual or what specifically was said.

Referee Norm Granger (a former Iowa running back) of Waterloo, who worked the game, said he would not discuss any game with the media. Officials submit sportsmanship ratings for each game to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, but those ratings have not been made public the last few years.

The IHSAA and Mississippi Valley Conference Commissioner Randy Krejci said they had not received formal or informal complaints about the Sept. 16 game at Xavier. Protocol is for schools to handle such issues administratively.

“We’re four weeks into the football season, for instance, and there has been nothing (reported),” IHSAA Assistant Executive Director Todd Tharp said last week. “We get very, very few phone calls about that. … We are pleased with how our member schools handle sportsmanship issues.”

Metro athletics directors said they deal with few racial problems. Kennedy AD Aaron Stecker said he hasn’t experienced it as an administrator or football coach here or in Missouri.

Washington AD Paul James said he couldn’t remember the last time his school — which has a large minority population — had an incident, but football coach Tony Lombardi said his team has been the target of racial slurs during his six years at the school.

He preferred not to be specific.

“Yes, it happens,” Lombardi said. “I have taken kids off the field and settled them down so they don’t (retaliate). … To me, if it happens, it’s a 15-yard penalty, and the official should walk over to the coach and ask him to deal with it appropriately.”

Jefferson Athletics Director Scott Kibby said he is more concerned with fan-to-athlete exchanges, particularly when the fans are close, such as in basketball. He said swearing is a much bigger issue, and any athlete who gets ejected for profanity has a meeting with him.

He keeps a file on every offending athlete.


194 Responses to UPDATE: Xavier player suspended for comment against City

  1. Oooooook lets chill out now. It was one silly game. Football isn’t just a game for the players. It’s much more then that. You have to love the game. Its a game of emotion. What do you expect? Kids to hold their tongue when they plant their enemy into the ground? or when theres a penalty called? No. There’s going to be some words thrown around and sometimes things slip out of anger. Until you play the game, you will never EVER understand. This story is inaccurate all together. I can bet you the CHS player had a little hand in starting it but it was a dumb mistake on our guys part.

  2. Regarding the continued insults to the article’s writer and the denials and insistences that all schools do this, it’s just part of the game — this just makes Xavier look worse. If you people are wise you will just stop commenting. Let the situation be and learn from it. You don’t get a pass “because everyone else is doing it.” You got caught. If only you got caught shoplifting, or driving drunk, would you cry “but everyone else does it” — and actually expect that to make you look better?

  3. This story may be accurate, however, I don’t see how it warrants the top spot on the front page of the sports section. And you are calling out one incident of unsportsman-like conduct when there clearly are incidents that happen in every school and every sport. I witnessed it at a middle school volleyball game last week from the opposing team! Heck, it probably happens at the pee wee level. How about rather than pointing out one student at one school you expose the whole problem by doing a series of articles, an expose’ if you will. Objective journalism, Jeff. That’s what I learned when I served with you on our college newspaper!

    • As stated below, Catholic Students Mom, I don’t decide when and where stories are placed in the sports section. That is for others to decide.

      Yes, I know unsportsmanlike behavior goes on at every level of sports. That is disappointing. But these allegations were public and severe, out of the ordinary, as coaches, ADs and state administrators in the story said. They don’t deal with it very often, if at all.

      That is why this story was pursued. As the City High Coach and AD said, sometimes “isolated incidents” occur and that this should not reflect at all on Xavier and Coach Schulte.

      • And if you think this was an easy story to pursue or enjoyable for me in any way, you are very wrong.

      • Jeff Johnson–thank you for doing your job and reporting this story. I believe you contacted those involved, and some spoke with you and others didn’t, so therefor you reported on the facts that were given to you. I have friends who are on the Chain Gang, and at Church that weekend, one of them was telling a story how a City High Player came off the field and said to a Coach “wow that kid just called me a “n……”. We were all surprised to even hear such a story especially when us elders are still giving of our time and money to support Xavier, and our children have graduated.

  4. jeff. my biggest beef with you is that you decided to write the article before xavier even knew what was going on. While City high was still going off of rumors and hearsay, you wrote the article that put a lot of people in bad positions. You were talking to City high people way before Xavier even knew the facts regarding the incident. City high didn’t even file a complaint against xavier. This article has blown things way out of proportion, when this incident should have been dealt with by the people involved, not the entire community.

    • I DID NOT decide to write the article before Xavier even knew what was going on, CR Man. That is completely and utterly false. I interviewed many, many people (some multiple times) before this story was ever written or was posted. I began interviewing people Monday and the story was completed Friday. Please get your facts straight with this.

  5. do i need to say it again? you guys need to quit denying this. you should just accept that your school isn’t perfect and move on and stop saying that all of this article is inaccurate because why would they put the story out if it isn’t true? so stop denying this and MOVE ON!

  6. All,
    As a parent of a Xavier multi-sport athlete and football player, as well as being a former Catholic school student athlete myself, I think it’s important for the Xavier community to focus on using this incident to be better Catholics, better sportsmen and women, and better people over all. This is not the time to focus on things that other schools have said and done to us. We need to do it better then we have been. I’ve seen poor sportsmanship on the baseball, and football field, the basketball court, and the track. While I’ve seen equally poor behavior from the athletes and parents we’ve played against we don’t judge what we do by what they do. We judge our behavior by what’s right and what’s wrong. We strive for excellence as athletes, competitors, and as Catholics. This incident is beneath us, and against everything we stand for at Xavier.
    While I don’t think that the gazette has it out for Xavier, and I know the key fact to this story was correct (the racial comment), I do hope in the future that the mistakes of teenage kids on a football field, (anyone’s football field) don’t make the sports page’s main headline. In this day of media sensationalism, hopefully the gazette will find better things to report on to grab a reader’s attention. With luck the next time some teenager says something stupid, even racial, Jeff doesn’t hear about it. He may just use it to grab a cheap headline. What this young man said was totally unacceptable, and needed to be dealt with (AND WAS) in an appropriate manor by coach Schulte and his staff. It was not a news story much less a headline on a Sunday sports page. I hope we haven’t reached a day when an 16-17 year old athlete of otherwise no consequence directing the N word at another player is all that is required to make a headline. Should it be accepted? ABSOLUTELY NOT, BUT IT’S NOT NEWS!!

  7. My point is that it doesn’t matter what 2 schools were involved!

    This is not news and not sports. It has no place on the front of the Sunday Sports page.

    The Editor at the Gazette should be ashamed that he needs to print a story like this.

  8. Jeff, have you ever made a racist comment? If so was it a headliner in the Gazette?

  9. Why wasn’t there an article last year, when during the semifinals Ronald Thompson was suspended? Consider that one Jeff.

  10. To XHS parent, I was with you for a second. Then your comment about using this to be better Catholics. This is where your religion falls short. God doesn’t care if you are Catholic, Lutheran, Prebyterian… He wants us all to be good and faithful Christians. Maybe if we woudl teach our kids to be better Christians instead of better Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians… Some of these things wouldn’t be going on. You make the comment about being a better Catholic and then take a jab at the writer of the article for trying to get a cheap headline. Give me a break. Isn’t that hipocrysy, which is a no no in any religion. How about everyone forgives, forgets, moves on and does not read the article or comment on it anymore. Nothing is going to be accomplished by it.

  11. I am a student at Xavier and I understand the fact that this person had no right to say that stuff but does that give Linn Mar and Kennedy a right to dress up as Jesus and Mary? nope, and when people have polo outs and wear khakis does that make it right? nope, and does that give them a right to call us “bible thumpers”? nope. Just because we are a catholic school doesn’t mean we dont make mistakes and when other public schools say that stuff about us and dont make the front of the sports page.. does that make it right? nope. This whole situation is way blown out of proportion I believe that it was unprofessional for this to be the front page and that fact that parents say it looks bad on our parents makes them look just as bad dissing poeple they don’t even know. Just because one kid made a mistake dosen’t mean that our whole school does that.

  12. Um i have a few things to say, i knew the player personally that was accused of saying those thing.(wont say any names) Also i am an african american student here at xavier. What he was accused of isnt right, Im part of the wrestling team with him. I dont know if he actually said those things on the field but i know forsure one thing is that the player accused is not racist, nieither is the Xavier commuinty. Ive been at catholic schools all my life, and xavier for about 2 years now. I’d say its been the best, so please dont look at the player or the xavier school/community as being racist. thanks you

  13. this artclie makes the whole xavier school look bad, whitch is not true. i love xavier and always would. if you cant take football dont play it!

  14. im not only a football fan at xavier, im a student.. to 1st start we are not RACEST! 2nd thing is football is a contact sport if you cant play or you whine about things just dont play. i love xavier. were not all rich, some parents really have to work hard to pay for thier kids to have a good education!
    I feel that you guys are making the whole xavier school look bad witch is not true, we are a good school.. and respect everyone.
    3rd of all… our religon has nothing to do with anything, its rude to make fun of peoples religon! i also think this what not a good thing to publish this… thanks
    .. and figure your facts out before you say something..Xavier is a great school!

  15. xavier is a good school so all you people out ther should just be nice and kind because ther are kids at IOWA CITY HIGH that are catholic to they are every where

  16. people really need to stop talking crap about xavier really its a amazing school

  17. okay kennedy and linn mar dress up as us for the football games and put crosses on there face and dress up as Jesus and Mary is that nice nope is it nice when you go home and you live in a kennedy neighborhood and they make
    funn of you for what you are have on after school and that xavier has more day of school well let me tell you something some day we you have to get up and get readdy for school i dont i have the day off so be nice to xavier people and if you are going to say crap that we have to go to church will we like it so be nice

  18. With a couple of exceptions, this whole forum has done nothing but make the people associated with Xavier High School look really bad. They should be ashamed of their behavior, their comments, their excuses and their attacks on the KCRG, the Gazette and the sportswriters. The truth hurts and I thing they “protest too much.” Also, their students need to learn grammer and spelling. They really need to look at their whole system and be very worried.

    • Football fan, you need to get your information strait. According to the ITED scores: Quote……..Xavier enjoys an excellent academic reputation, consistently ranking as the top academic high school in Eastern Iowa, and one of the best in the state. Xavier’s ITED scores have ranked in the 99th percentile multiple times….end Quote!

      last Years Graduating class of roughly 200 were offered over $5 Milliion dollars in Academic Scholarships.

      I think they are pretty well rounded!

  19. Jeff, you are a wonderful reporter but stories like this do not help your reputation. If you are going to write about something that will stir up such controversy, you should have the facts to back it up. There are very little, if any, facts in this story. That is not your fault, but it is your fault that you portrayed this information in a way that some would interpret as fact. This article was well intended, and I know for a fact that things like this happen. You must understand that these things happen both ways. As a player, I was subject to foul mouthing like this, but managed to pass it off as nothing more than an immature student letting his emotions get the best of him. Seriously, instead of writing a story about racism and things we have ABSOLUTELY no control over, why not write about things we could control? I mean, I think it hurt a whole lot more when a city high player grabbed and squeezed my crotchal region more than it did whenever someone said something derogative. lets get priorities straight

  20. and you cant get a cup that protects from an N bomb

  21. I agree with your statement. Also of course people who go to a school will say they love the school and the people. They are oblivious to what might actually be going on around them.

  22. Mr. Johnson here is the reason i don’t like you as a writer. Now your the type of person who gets off on getting on people. Which means you instigate before you inform. By you targeting this student you believe you have downgraded a prestigious school. We are all human and there is not one perfect human. So for you to write this before getting the side of both parties makes me wonder your credential on journalism…

    • Couldn’t be more wrong, Annonymous. If you think I enjoyed doing this story, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. I have the utmost respect for Xavier, for the administration and for Coach Schulte.

  23. Haha I love Xavier Parent’s post because it starts out playing the “I’m a good catholic, god loves me” card and then immediately changes into ranting on about how Jeff Johnson’s the worst person in the world. Ignorance is what this all amounts to, you made a mistake now live with it. Don’t try to reflect the conflict towards Jeff Johnson for reporting the story to the public. This has reached a new level in always present Xavier arrogance. I really felt Xavier Parent epitomized the school and their way of conducting themselves.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, Jeff. Thank you for exposing Xavier without taking a biased vantage point in the conflict.
    Also to Xavier Student(s), great grammar displayed throughout the comment thread. Really representing that $16,000 private high school education well!

    • Realist? Did you actually read the Xavier Parent post? I did and could not find where they played the “I’m a good Catholic, God loves me” card. It’s sad that you have such hateful feelings towards Xavier and Catholics in general. God loves all his children, including you. By the way speaking of grammer, did you mean “deflect” rather than “reflect”?

  24. 16,000* (Amount for 4 years of tuition)… 4,000 annually.

    • No student is denied a education at Xavier if they cannot afford the standard tuition. Finacial info is sent to an out of state independent accounting firm to determine how much a potential students family can afford. FACT!

  25. Jeff I understand that this is what you do for a living but I feel as if this article is unnecessary, yes there was smack talk going on but this happens at every high school sporting event. What happens with a suspension should be between only the coaches, principle, and the family of the suspendie. That fact that you brought this subject public makes an entire school look bad for one persons actions.

    To all the people who think xavier is full of rich snobby kids your entirely wrong. Jeff why dont you tell one of your buddies at gazette to make an article where it shows how many families involved with a particular school have an income each year of over a set price. I would think that there are just as many “rich kids” at wash or kennedy as there is at xavier.

    To those who think that all the students and families at xavier think we act all “high and mighty” we dont. You do. How many people do you know that are involved at Xavier that show off their faith and flaunting about our families annual income?

    Countless times I have herd parents from other schools talking bad about Xavier. Last soccer season while the Xavier team was in substate games I was sitting in the stands. Almost all the parents from xavier were commenting quietly to their friends about if there should have been a call there or that was a bad tackle, but the parents from other teams were yelling like crazy because they dont understand the game. I even herd a parents from another team say very loudly “Do they even graduate from a Catholic School?” I found this pathetic just like I think this whole article is pathetic. I understand that each person is allowed to have their own opinions but if you are not knowledgeable about this matter than you should not post a related comment on this.

    • Jeff, Could you clear something up for me? I see you wrote that you talked to Coach Sabers and AD Kroemer, from City High, But I am curious what comments or quotes did you receive from the Administration or Coaching Staff at Xavier. Other than the statement from Mike Winker that a player had been suspended?

      • The original story that appeared on the IPS site Friday (prior to suspension announcement) had Mr. Winker saying the players denied using racial slurs and that the school would never tolerate such action. Also had a quote from him about how he felt Xavier was being put into a no-win situation, with both City High kids claiming things and Xavier kids claiming things (paraphrasing). Coach Schulte did not want to talk on the record.

  26. Yeah lets all make this a big deal! All schools are different some, in other peoples minds, may b different. We all have flaws. Not everyone is perfect. I know the kid myself. He can be a tad mean. But he is an all around nice guy. Xavier is indeed a good school. So are all the other schools in CR. The other schools may have a few more kids in the “minority” group. I myself am hispanic and people don’t give me crap for being Mexican. The main point fos XHS football is being a team. Just as many other teams main points. If you play football you pretty much sign a contract that states that you open yourself to all happenings. It’s a great sport and it could be deadly. No matter what there are the bums who have to play dirty on every team. It happens. It happens at the college level and professional level. It’s in the game of football. Jeff Johnson you did your job. I respect that. No matter what, people will have there own oppionions it’s in our human DNA. Th bottom line is that things happen, and people make mistakes. It happens everywhere. Including Xavier. I’m not excluding them at all it’s all around us.

  27. After reading these posts, I feel the need to reply to some of the comments I read..
    Jeff Johnson is doing his job. It took him a week to gather information from BOTH sides and write this article. He isn’t out to get Xavier, like many of you seem to think. He talked to both ADs. Both coaches. Actually, he talked to other schools too, in the same area. He also contacted the referee that night. What more do you want the man to do? It’s not his fault Schulte didn’t want to comment. Can you blame him? It just happens the student is from Xavier, and decided to use racial slurs. I don’t know how or why you think he is out to get you. Some of you seem to think that the publication of this article made Xavier, as a whole, “look bad”. Which isn’t the case… Everyone that read the article realizes that it was ONE student’s action and doesn’t reflect the school.
    Also, I find it hard to believe any of you can say this is hearsay… I’m sure there was a reason the administration suspended the student… Just because you don’t know who it was or what was said doesn’t make it hearsay. The administration knows what happened, knows who did it, and dealt with it accordingly. Jeff Johnson isn’t making this up nor are the students from the other school. They simply voiced the problem to their coach, who got in contact with each other, and resolved the issue. Take a note from how these two fine programs handled their problems, instead of making completely irrational and irrelevant comments on this page.
    Yes trash talking happens in every football game, but there is a difference between trash talking, and the use of racial slurs. I can assure you that racial slurs are not used on a regular basis while teams trash talk. Officials stopped the game to address the coaches…
    Some of you seem to think this never happened, because all of the players denied using slurs to their athletic director.
    City High players told their coach, referees stopped the game to talk to the coaches about player conduct, the coaches talked to each other about the incident, the Ads talked, a student was suspended.
    If you think a student was suspended because of something a City High player said and made up, then please explain to me how he managed to convince both school’s administrations to suspend a student without proof of wrongdoing. I would love to hire him as my lawyer.
    No one thinks less of you Xavier. People make mistakes, and hopefully will learn from them. Don’t point fingers at everyone else and think everyone’s out to get you. Because I can assure you, they are not. The fact that the student was from Xavier had nothing to do with this story. I’m sure if the same thing happened against Kennedy (don’t say they do it and it just goes unnoticed, the same exact situation would have happened if they did) it would be in the paper too.
    Two fine programs played the other night, there had to be a winner. A student let their emotions get the best of them. Stuff happens, it’s time to move on and past this. If there was any reason to talk bad about Xavier it would have nothing to do with this article, but the things some of you “Xavierfaithful” etc. etc. are posting. Don’t try and pretend like both sides weren’t portrayed in the article, or it’s hearsay and there are no facts, it happened. I promise you. Use your brain and actually think about it before you post comments while enraged.
    There are many more problems that are more important than this. How about we focus on them and not worry about the past. :)

    Ps. Stop hating on Jeff for doing his JOB. I would love to see you write a story you were assigned to with the given information. It would be the same thing, but less organized and with more grammatical errors. Although it was a controversial article, as it seems, at least it was written right!

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