The Dawg Pack Dirt — Washington’s version of the Pit Crew — is encouraging student fans at UW to taunt Ducks forward Arsalan Kazemi “in his native tongue.” (PDF).
Like the Pit Crew, Dawg Pack Dirt offers members of UW’s student section advice on how and why to heckle particular players. Most of the dirt is to be expected — it reminds students that E.J. Singler “is the younger brother of former Duke standout, and current Detroit Piston, Kyle Singler. His brother is hands down a better player … He needs to be reminded of this fact throughout the night.” They also make a crack at how Damyean Dotson’s name is spelled — “It is highly possible his parents were under the influence when they spelled his name; it truly is painful to look at.”
But it’s what they say about Kazemi that seems noteworthy:
“The fact is this guy is from Iran, and there is something highly intriguing and terrifying about that. Our best advice would be to not look him directly in the eye.
*Ahmadinejad is watching!
-He speaks Persian.
*Use Google, and explore the Persian language, make him feel at home with some taunts from his native tongue.”
Taunting from the students is part of the game, but this goes too far, says Pit Crew president Andrew Stephens.
“Heckling is just part of a student section,” Stephens said. “And funny pictures — the one of Fred for example — is just straight up funny. But when race gets into the picture, that’s just tiptoeing a fine line that always tips toward being too far.”
The Pit Crew doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation itself, having garnered national attention back in 2008 for its treatment of Oregon native and UCLA center Kevin Love when he and the Bruins visited Mac Court, though they’ve been relatively quiet since that backlash.
The Oregonian’s Adam Jude tweeted before the game that University of Washington officials were aware of the situation and had addressed the students responsible.