Stormy Sea of Confusion

Behavior at Homecoming Game from Red Sea leads to conflict. Senior Captains Respond.


Olivia Downin

Hudson football on sidelines |by Olivia Downin

Though the Hawks defeated Worcester’s Burncoat High School 52-14 Homecoming weekend, the talk of the night was disrespectful behavior from the student fan section, The Red Sea.

Following Spirit Week and a pep rally before the homecoming game, the Hawks looked to continue a winning season as they took on Burncoat. Traditionally, on the football’s Homecoming game, the players and fans wear pink to show their support during Breast Cancer Awareness month. Two of the team’s coaches had family members who died after fighting breast cancer. 

The Pink-Out spirit was announced as a reminder at the end of the pep rally Friday afternoon.

However, before the game, the spirit was changed to a USA theme. This was supported by some, confused many and upset others. 

“The Red Sea should represent the football team and this was our Pink game. The change made no sense to me,” said football team co-captain Quinn O’Brien.

The Red Sea is not an official club at Hudson High. It is a student-run collaboration with the purpose of cheering on athletes.

Toward the second quarter, a few members of the Red Sea held out a Trump 2020 banner in the front row of the bleachers and posed for photos. It was also reported that a racial slur was hurled at a Hudson student and possibly one of the Worcester players. 

O’Brien continued, “The football team is built on being diverse and being okay with anyone’s beliefs. Bringing a political flag to the game just destroys that whole idea.”

Senior Angel Bethea was sitting with The Red Sea that night.

“When the game first began I was excited and happy to be a part of The Red Sea. During the last moments I was there, I felt disgusted, hurt, and embarrassed to be associated with the school as a whole,” she commented.

Two of The Red Sea leaders, seniors Abbey Nezuch and Paul Melo, said “We do not tolerate it,” in regards to the racial slur. She also mentioned that she and the other leaders did not hear it, but was asked about it in general. 

Though many people talked about the racial slur over the weekend and on social media, not many students wanted to go on record about it. 

Last-Minute Change Leads to Confusion

O’Brien was notified by The Red Sea that many wanted to change the theme, but being game day, he and the captains were reluctant to yield. They later decided to oblige to avoid further conflict.

“I feel that politics being brought into a football game puts everyone in an awkward position, including the players and the people in The Red Sea that don’t want to be involved, because it makes it seem like we all support what is happening in the Red Sea when we might not,” O’Brien said.

Principal Dr. Jason Medeiros commented, “I know part of the struggle people had was not only about the sudden change, but also it was about the choice of some people to break out the Trump banner, which is separate from the spirit clothing.” 

Medeiros continued, “I think everyone recognizes that everyone has an opinion and the right to express that opinion. To hold signs or flags made the whole thing more difficult, especially when some students chose to use that as a banner for the entire Red Sea and not just themselves; that’s where a lot of the hurt came in.”

According to Nezuch and Melo, they received multiple messages through their Instagram account to change the theme, “We heard from [some] players and students that they wanted to do a USA theme. This was because many sports already did a pink theme for their games. Pink day was in spirit week and no one wanted to do it again. We switched because it was what everyone wanted.”

Not everyone agreed with that sentiment though. Caitlin Cassidy, co-president of the Junior Boosters echoed the opinions of many in the stands.

We are disappointed with the negative actions that we heard happen Friday night when we as a group want to have inclusivity and camaraderie. We are proud of our football team and how they have been playing”

Up until the behavior of this game, the Junior Boosters provided funding for The Red Sea including banners, food and cornstarch. They have currently cut off funding following this event.

“Junior Boosters are not a part of The Red Sea and The Red Sea is not a part of Junior Boosters. We don’t have a comment on the changing theme because we were not involved in the planning of the spirit,” Cassidy said. 

The change was news to Medeiros, who felt the change led to confusion and conflict.

“I think any time there’s a sudden change, with any decision whether it’s such a school level or a student-level, it’s always going to raise questions as to what the reasons were and what their motivations behind it were. ”

Medeiros continued, “I know our athletes really value when students come out and support them. especially when it’s positive.  It gives them energy, it gives them excitement.”

When senior Nick Doyle, a football player and member of The Red Sea was asked about the behavior, he had no comment.

The following Friday, captains from fall sports teams came together to deliver an announcement at the end of the school day, to remind students of the importance of supporting athletes while representing the school in a positive way.

Senior Lina Fossile, co-captain of the field hockey team said “Student-athletes would like the Red Sea to respect Hudson sports and the school while also hyping us up and cheering us on. It’s unfortunate whenever we hear about students not treating one another with respect in the stands.”

Senior Marcus Bass, co-captain of the football team concluded, 

“When we are playing, we want our fans to make us proud for playing for Hudson High School, just as we want to make you proud whenever you see us wearing the red and white of Hudson High.”

On October 22, the atmosphere of the stands was one of cheers in The Red Sea,  a drastic change to the Homecoming game. Hudson defeated North Middlesex 26-8.