Bishop Slams Donald Trump Sign, Taunts at High School Basketball Game

A Roman Catholic Bishop has criticized the waving of an image of Donald Trump along with chants of "Build that wall" at a high school basketball game over the weekend.

Bishop Donald J. Hying of the Diocese of Gary, Indiana, said the behavior was "antithetical to the Christian faith."

Hying issued a statement Monday following a game the previous Friday that featured two rival Catholic institutions, the predominantly Latino Bishop Noll Institute and Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana.

The furor has triggered an investigation by Andrean high school and "is being taken very seriously," the bishop said. "Any actions or words that can be perceived as racist or derogatory to others are antithetical to the Christian faith and will not be tolerated in any of our institutions," Hying said.

Ashley Howard, who attended the game to watch her cousin play for Bishop Noll, said while the rivalry has always been fierce, the behavior of the Andrean fans went too far.

In addition to the Donald Trump sign, there was one for ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language unit of the sports network ESPN. "That, coupled with the chants that they were doing, that was really inappropriate," she said. "The chants included 'No comprende, please speak English' and 'Build that wall.'"

Howard, a communications major from Indiana University who now teaches volleyball at a local high school, said this was not been the first time that inappropriate chants have been directed at Bishop Noll.

"It's always been an issue. Everybody notices it. No one has really said anything," she said.

Howard, whose Facebook post over the weekend drew attention to the taunts, said she has received messages from other high school coaches as well as students from both schools who said they were offended by the chants.

"I'm not saying they are such bad kids. The administration is responsible for the things that go on there. It's the administrators, the adults, the responsible adults, who need to right their wrongs, to say it's not OK."

Andrean Principal Rick Powowarski said the incident was a learning opportunity for the high school.

"We will be taking steps within our halls, in (collaboration) with the diocesan administration and Bishop Noll, to ensure that all of our students and staff understand their obligations of responsibility, acceptance and sportsmanship. We have, and continue to have, high expectations for all members of our school community.”