HOLMDEL — A Monmouth County Catholic high school girls soccer team is taking heat over a controversial tweet, even before the regular season has started.

The tweet by the Saint John Vianney High School girls soccer team account on Wednesday ahead of a scrimmage with Neptune High School read, “Everyone come support the team home@ 10:00 for our first scrimmage vs. Neptune! #bringyourshanks #give5." according to the Asbury Park Press. The tweet has been deleted from their account.

Following the scrimmage the Lancers posted a tweet showing a smiling emoji being punched.

Screenshot of tweet sent by St. Vianney girls soccer team
Screenshot of tweet sent by St. Vianney girls soccer team (via Twitter)

The tweet was interpreted in two ways. One is that the reference to "shanks" is about a slang term for knives, and is derogatory to Neptune, which has a large population of African American students.

Vianney Athletic Director Richard Lamberson told the newspaper the term refers to a player "shanking the ball" and scoring a goal. Lamberson said there was no malicious intent.

He said the account is not an official school account.

"The NJSIAA is aware of the tweet, and will be reaching to the schools early next week to gather more information. The association takes seriously all concerns or claims related to our sportsmanship rules," spokesman Michael Cherenson told New Jersey 101.5.

Reactions on Twitter were mostly critical of the team with people calling for an apology to a suspension. There were also tweets in support of the team.


St. John Vianney was established in 1969 in Holmdel, and has an enrollment of 1,000 students mostly from Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex Counties, according to its website.


Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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