Neptune vs. Asbury Park Thanksgiving Day Game Canceled Due to Threats of Violence
The 90th edition of the annual Thanksgiving Day football game between Neptune and Asbury Park has been canceled because of threats of violence to be carried out at the game.
Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet announced the cancellation of the game in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
"Despite many efforts to reschedule the Asbury Park-Neptune Thanksgiving Day football game, we were unable to reach a mutually agreeable date that would have allowed the game to be played," the statement read. "As a result, Neptune has decided to forfeit. Although I know players, alumni and fans are disappointed, be assured that we will work together with the Neptune Township School District to ensure the safety of all involved in the future and to allow this longstanding Shore tradition to continue."
In a joint release Tuesday afternoon, officials announced the game had been postponed after both schools received "credible, live threats" involving the annual Thanksgiving game unofficially named "The Friendship Bowl".
"We received information that would have put our students in harm's way so we made the decision to postpone," Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet told the Asbury Park Press on Tuesday. "We understand the game is vitally important to both communities, but this transcends the football game. There are individuals who want to destroy the spirit of the game."
Repollet did not elaborate on what the threats were and said there is an on-going investigation.
According to NJ Advance Media, neither the Asbury Park Police Department or the Neptune Police Department advised the school districts to cancel the game. Asbury Park police Sgt. Micahel Casey confirmed an investigation of an "unconfirmed threat" but would not comment further.
Capt. Michael McGhee of the Neptune Police Department said he had no knowledge of the threat.
"We had no input on the cancellation," he told NJ.com. "I still don't even know what that threat is. It's really not an issue to us. These things come through all the time. We had zero input on this decision."
A joint statement between the Asbury Park School District and the Neptune School District was sent to Shore Sports Network on Tuesday afternoon announcing the original postponement.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game between Asbury Park High School and Neptune Township High School is being postponed until a mutually agreeable date," the original statement read
“On behalf of the Asbury Park and Neptune Township School Districts, be assured that the safety of our students, staff and communities remains paramount. We extend to you a Happy Thanksgiving!”
Neptune and Asbury Park were originally scheduled to square off at 10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving at William "Butch" Bruno Stadium. Neptune now officially concludes its season with an 0-10 record while Asbury Park finishes with a 6-4 record.
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