CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A segment of a speech by Adolf Hitler was played over the public address system before a soccer game at a Gaston County high school, prompting an apology from the principal that left the visiting team's coach unsatisfied.
Robert Carpenter, principal of Forestview High School, sent a letter of apology Monday to officials at Charlotte Catholic.
An excerpt of about 90 seconds was played Saturday night before the state 3-A playoff game. Forestview won the game 1-0.
"We were warming up and all of us stopped and looked up at the booth," said Catholic coach Gary Hoilett. "We were just real shocked. It was obviously a Hitler speech."
Hoilett said that before the game some Forestview players were chanting a German phrase that means "On to victory." The coach, who is black, said some Forestview players also shouted racial epithets at his two black players.
Carpenter said in his letter that a CD containing the Hitler speech was played and that it was inappropriate. He said neither he nor Forestview soccer coach David Shearer knew what was planned. The letter didn't address racial epithets.
"Sometime back, coach Shearer and the team started using `On to victory' as a slogan," Carpenter wrote. "We have a German exchange student on our team. He taught our students to say it in German. Some of our more zealous students sought to capture this slogan in German and to play it on the PA. They copied it from a speech by Hitler but could not just copy the `On to victory' and got too much of the speech."
Rick Strunk of the N.C. High School Athletic Association said the incident was being investigated.
"It's one thing if someone uses the N-word on the field," Strunk said. "It's terrible, but it's a private matter. To use the PA [to play a Hitler speech] is another thing entirely. It's really hard to fathom in this day and time."
The school could be placed on probation, fined or have home games taken away.
Hoilett said Forestview's response was weak.
"The letter was lame," Hoilett said. "You don't toss something like that to the corner."