Hype squad under fire

Hype squad publicly boycotts game against Cesar Chavez high school.

Last week the Hype Squad – an unofficial group of students who lead the student section at home athletic events – came under fire for their public protest of the football team’s suspension of more than 30 players.
According to multiple sources, approximately 30 varsity football players were suspended for a violation of “team policy/rule,” head coach Preston Jones told the Arizona Republic.

In a response to the suspension, Hype Squad leaders called for PHS students to boycott the Pumas’ game at Chavez last week and instead attend Hamilton or Basha’s game on Friday night.

Senior Dane Bebak is one of the leaders of the Hype Squad and voiced his frustration with the suspension of many of his friends on the football team. On Sept. 20, just hours prior to kickoff, the Hype Squad tweeted out, “Tonight we encourage you not to attend the game, take a stand and fight against these foolish ‘team rules.’”

This Tweet has since been deleted due to the fact that, according to the Hype Squad, it was “misunderstood” by readers.

Bebak defended the call to boycott, saying “my best friends of seven years who are trying to go into college and get college paid for are doing it through football, and getting benched for pardon my French, some dumb (expletive) like this really bugged us along with many, many, many people.”

The decision to boycott ignited a divide of mostly backlash across campus from students, former and current members of the varsity football team, and people on Twitter.

Colbie Dickie, who was a 1st team all Premier Region wide receiver during his senior season last year, responded to the boycott Tweet by saying: “This ain’t it! I went through this! I went out and partied during high school and did my punishment that’s just how it is.”

Another 2019 grad who was a first team all region player — Jalen Young — simply replied, “Go support the rest of the team…ridiculous.”

Bebak said he believes the team’s rules are unfair, and that players are “forced to sign a contract that bans them from…experiencing high school.” By experiencing high school, Bebak refers to the opportunity some students may receive to attend social gatherings and parties.

Because of this contract, the Hype Squad believes that players will be prevented from participating in these activities.

Despite the negative attention that this boycott created, the Hype Squad ensured that this move was in no way meant to offend or attack current players and students, and was just them taking a stand against what they believe in. 

“We love and support all the players on the team giving [effort] every single day, but we felt as if we needed to take a stand for what felt right,” he said.