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Officials say no formal complaints filed about Mars student section

September 17, 2018 News Extra

Mars student section cheers at the start of the Mars vs Penn Hills game at Mars Athletic Complex in Adams Twp on Friday September 14,2018.

ADAMS TWP — Despite some criticism of Mars fans during Friday’s football game with Penn Hills, officials from the districts and the athletic league said Monday that no formal complaints have been lodged.

Social media posts on both Facebook and Twitter, as well as calls to local talk radio stations on Monday called into question the America theme night used by the Mars student section. Students were dressed in red, white and blue, with many waving American flags and flags adorned with President Donald Trump’s name.

Those commenting said they found it odd that the theme was chosen for the contest.

“What does it mean when you have Trump signs at a football game and chant U. S. A U.S.A. to encourage your team while playing against a predominantly African American team? Do you realize that Penn Hills is in the United States and the African American players are from the U.S.A.?” wrote one Twitter user.

“I watched that game on TV last night and I said it was odd that they picked a USA theme to play Penn Hills,” wrote another.

Others questioned the use of a sign depicting Penn Hills quarterback Hollis Mathis and chants of “overrated.”

On Monday, Nancy Hines, Penn Hills superintendent, said she had received “a few questions” about the theme night.

“Several of our fans wished they had known in advance, as they would have liked to dress in red, white and blue also to show solidarity and our unity as Americans,” she wrote in an email.

Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic League Executive Director Tim O’Malley said the league has received no complaints from the game. Likewise, Wes Shipley, superintendent of the Mars School District, said he had heard no complaints.

Hines said she heard from others who noted the “unusual amount of attention” on Mathis, including the poster bearing his image.

“Several Penn Hills fans, students included, thought that was in poor taste,” she said. “I would agree after seeing the poster during the live television broadcast I watched.”