Updated: School District, NJSIAA, Looking Into Possible ‘Monkey’ Noises Aimed At FHS Boys Basketball Team During Game

Schools Superintendent John Ravally is leading the district’s inquiry into a possible racial incident at the FHS-Hunterdon Central Regional basketball game on Dec. 14. (File photo.)

Dec. 18: The state Division on Civil Rights has been notified of the incident by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, an organization spokesman said.

The NJSIAA has also asked officials in both schools, plus the officials at the game, to “submit incident reports,” spokesman Mike Cherenson said in an email.

“NJSIAA has notified the Division on Civil Rights and will keep them apprised as information becomes available,” he wrote. “Upon receipt of the reports, NJSIAA will determine if additional NJSIAA actions are required.”


Original Story: State interscholastic sports and district officials are looking into a potential racial incident that occurred at the Dec. 14 boy’s basketball game between Franklin and Hunterdon Central Regional high schools in Flemington.

Reports from the game are that Hunterdon Central fans may have made “monkey noises” when FHS players were taking foul shots during the game.

The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association is looking into the matter, according to Mike Cherenson, one of its spokesmen, as is the school district administration.

“The incident has been reported to the NJSIAA,” district spokeswoman Mary Clark said in an email. “District Athletic Director Kenneth Margolin is investigating the matter with our staff and students and Superintendent (John) Ravally has personally reached out to Dr. (Jeffrey) Moore, the Hunterdon Central Superintendent of Schools, requesting he look into this incident from his end.”

One player’s parent who was at the game was willing to give the Hunterdon Central fans the benefit of the doubt, but, he said, he “would not be surprised” if the noises were racially motivated.

“I’m the first one to notice racism anywhere, even if it doesn’t exist,” Tracy Brown said. “I don’t know if that’s what they were doing, they had stands full of kids and they were rowdy and making noise.”

Fans regularly make noises and hand gestures in an attempt to distract opposing players while making foul shots. But these noises, Brown said, were suspect.

“I don’t know if they were intentionally meant to sound monkeyish,” he said of the noises. He said about 50-60 Hunterdon Central fans were making the noises.

“There were two parents on our side who really took that in a negative way and walked over to someone on the Hunterdon Central side and talked to them, and then I guess didn’t get the answer they wanted” because they returned madder than when they left, he said.

“It was definitely monkeyish,” he said of the noise. “It was definitely of the jungle persuasion.”

“They could very well have a very good explanation, this is what we do at every game, or it could very well be, (Franklin is) an African-American team and they aren’t, and this is the noise they make,” he said. “If I found that out to be the truth, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

This story will be updated as we receive more information.

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