The superintendent of New Ulm Public Schools has issued an apology after several recent incidents centered around the school’s basketball team.
Superintendent Jeff Bertrang said one of the boys on the New Ulm team was disciplined for using a slur against a gay player from St. Peter during a game in February. “As has been reported, in a boys’ basketball game against St. Peter last month, a New Ulm player made a hateful comment, a slur, that was directed toward a St. Peter player,” Bertrang’s email says. “While I cannot comment further about his matter, I can acknowledge that this took place and that the athlete has been disciplined.”
The report Bertrang referenced was an article published Friday by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The article says that besides the slur, the offending player pinched the St. Peter center repeatedly throughout the game, leaving bruises.
In addition to the February incident that Bertrang’s email described, the Strib also reported that the St. Peter’s player, a senior, was also targeted by fans in January when teens in the New Ulm student section yelled that he would touch players’ groins.
Then last Tuesday, at a game in New Ulm, the St. Peter player was again pinched repeatedly by the same player, according to the Star Tribune report. Afterward, a bus was shot with a water bead blaster by four New Ulm students on Highway 15 near Klossner, as it carried the team back to St. Peter.
The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office named those suspects in a press release that also declared their investigation into the matter was complete. Bertrang’s email says a district investigation will follow the police investigation.
The New Ulm player responsible for the pinching and slur was on the court in Saturday’s playoff game against Mankato West, according to sources familiar with the team.
Bertrang says he has reached out to St. Peter administrators and says New Ulm will continue to hold students to the highest standards of sportsmanship. “We can and must do better,” he says in closing.