An intramural floor hockey team forfeited a playoff game this week after one of its players tweeted comments disparaging the other team, fielded by the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi.
“Playoff (intramural) hockey tonight as the [Ghost Bears] take on the losers of AEPi,” freshman Nick Van Allen tweeted. “I’ll be damned if we lose to a bunch of Jewish frat kids.” He followed this with the hashtag “Heil,” a common refrain among Nazi sympathizers during World War II.
Van Allen has since apologized to AEPi, members said, following condemnation from Temple Student Government and an apologetic statement from Temple’s club ice hockey team, for whom he also plays forward.
His intramural team, the Ghost Bears—named for Philadelphia Flyers’ rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere—was ordered to forfeit their game against “AEPi 2,” one of the fraternity’s two intramural teams.
“Their season is done,” Peter Derstine, assistant director for Campus Recreation, said in an email. “We have handled the issue internally as far as Nick’s participation in Intramurals. The issue now is with the Dean [of Students]’ office and what they are planning to do about the matter.”
Van Allen could not be reached for comment. Michael Cantwell, his teammate and a computer science major, said he and his teammates would have no further comment.
“I’ve already made mine and the team’s opinion on the matter known to the relevant parties,” he said.
Van Allen’s tweet drew a quick response from Zach Gelb, a senior media studies and production major and four-year member of AEPi. He plays as a defenseman for the fraternity’s other floor hockey team.
In four years with the fraternity, Gelb said, it’s not the first time he’s heard anti-Semitic insults, but he’s not seeking retribution.
“We accept his apology … We just want the kid to realize, ‘Hey, you messed up, but now you can educate yourself on this issue,’” Gelb said. “We’re not trying to get him kicked out of school or anything like that.”
David Fenster, a sophomore media studies and production major who plays forward on the AEPi 2 team, said it’s an opportunity to show how social media posts can be perceived.
“Anything you put out there could get snatched up by millions of people in an instant,” he said, later adding: “It’s a bad, disgusting thing to happen, but you move forward.”
“We’re all around the same age,” Gelb said. “We’re all trying to be successful here. … I don’t get why someone would try to put another group of people down like that over a stupid intramural game.”
Joe Brandt and Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.