Mater Dei Boys' B-Ball Players Bullied Their Co-Captain, Calling Him "Bitch" and "Nigger": Claim

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Last week, we reported that Mario Soto, a forward on Mater Dei High's boys basketball team, was leaving the school for reasons unknown. Today, we know why he left: bullying by former and current teammates, including allegations of physical assaults and that they called him "bitch" and "nigger"--never mind that Soto is half-Puerto Rican and half-Indian.

And lest petty Mater Dei fans skewer Soto by claiming he's making up excuses for not being able to hack it it under coach Gary Mcknight (never mind that Soto was a returning starter who had been a co-captain since his sophomore year), the senior is serious about his claims. He has retained the counsel of John Manly, the legendary Newport Beach lawyer who has sued his alma mater many times for its pedophilically inclined employees and is a wrecking ball of righteousness.

Last Friday, Manly sent a letter to Diocese of Orange general counsel Maria Schinderle stating he would represent Soto and his family and described a "3-year saga at Mater Dei where [Soto] was bullied, harassed, intimidated, physically assaulted, and perhaps worse, routinely called a 'nigger.'" Named in the claim were Orange Bishop Kevin Vann, McKnight and his son, Clay (an assistant coach), and Mater Dei president Pat Murphy. Sources tell the Weekly that the bullying was brought to the attention of Mater Dei officials to no avail, which wouldn't be the first time they ignored warnings that something was amiss in McKnight's program.

The Soto family declined comment, and Manly wouldn't discuss details but said the family plans to file a lawsuit if Vann doesn't take action.

"This matter is now on the bishop's desk, and the bishop has a choice," Manly says. "He can choose to take action against people that let this happen, to try and heal the wounds that this family suffered, or he can continue the path of his predecessors, which is to pretend like everything is fine and try to run the victim over."

Given that Vann just appeared in the Orange County Register wearing a Mater Dei hat, I think we already got the answer to Manly's challenge.

Manly also says that other players were subject to bullying as well, which wouldn't surprise us: McKnight, after all, is notorious for his asshole-ery toward players. But if it turns out that he presided over a locker room that makes Richie Icognito seem like Lady Byng, then Vann's going to have a lot of 'splaining to do in this anti-bullying era of ours.

Heckuva job, Vanny!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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27 comments
YallStupid
YallStupid

As a player at Mater Dei there is constant name calling to each other. But its back and forth everyone does it, its like every basketball locker room. I've said a few words to another team mate and Mcknight came out of no where and put me down and threatened to make me run the track. If Mcknight knew any of this was going on don't think he wouldn't put a stop to it.

forepeat22
forepeat22

Comical work Gus!  Didn't know you are now a gossip columnist.  Do your research before you write.  Also, consider the source...Manly.  He is a slimeball attorney that makes Saul Goldman look like a Supreme Court Justice.  Mario's dad is upset because he doesn't want Mario to have to wait the 30 days that is required when switching schools.


Try another profession Gus, you're a hack.

Vicente Govea
Vicente Govea

I use to be bullied now I'm the one that bully's!!!

NGCoot
NGCoot

Workin' pretty free there with the "N" word GA ....

NGCoot
NGCoot

"Today, we know why he left: bullying by former and current teammates .."


I assume that Manly is alleging that the school was negligent in some manner - that's where the money is.

Rachel Penn
Rachel Penn

I dont think the amount of bullying has changed over the last 20 years, the response has though

Rachel Penn
Rachel Penn

Perhaps but i'm certain that everybody here has been a kid and we have seen this crap in high school or maybe went though what this kid went through. No amount of talking will change bullys. Is this kid going to keep running from everything the rest of his life like he is doing now?? I hope not bc his adult life will suck! He is gonna run into bigger problems than this in his future and running wont save him..

NGCoot
NGCoot

So how much is Manly asking for and what is his cut?

Andre Miller
Andre Miller

Guaranteed everyone who made an asinine comment here, doesn't have kids. When it's your kid, then come holler @ me.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Ah...nothing epitomizes Christian love like turning your back on an abuse victim. (NOT!)

Rachel Penn
Rachel Penn

Wtf... Everybody gets picked on in high school..Parents need to start teaching their offspring how to ignore stuff like this.. Or fight back. Kick the bully's ass. Then chances of them picking them again is slim..

targetmedia
targetmedia

Aren't Stanley Johnson (potential 2015 NBA lottery pick), Michael Cage Jr, Miles Simon (to name a few current/former MD players) black?

Paul David
Paul David

Johnathan Martin decide to go back to high school?.......Fuck!ng Pus$y

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

"...a locker room that makes Richie Incognito seem like Lady Byng..."  



OMFG that's funny...

*tips hat (but not Mater Dei hat) to you


esoj1211
esoj1211

@targetmedia Of those you mentioned, Simon has a white mama and Cage looks like he could be 1/2.....maybe in OC society there's a less stringent one-drop rule.  Stanley looks like the real deal brought in from the Harbor area.

forepeat22
forepeat22

winning school now has a total of 1 cif football championiship and zero basketball titles.....winning? lmao

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@JBinOCLet's see how many people get THAT reference! As for your own bon mot—HA!

moosington
moosington

@esoj1211 @targetmedia There have been plenty of black athletes/students at Mater Dei through the years. When it all shakes out, I doubt race will really be the issue at hand.

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