High School Basketball Coach Fired After Game Was Marred by Antisemitic Slurs
In deeply concerning incident, the Leffell School girls’ basketball team, representing a private Jewish educational institution, faced a barrage of antisemitic slurs and offensive remarks during a game against Roosevelt High School-Early College Studies in Yonkers, New York. The clash, which unfolded in the midst of athletic competition, escalated into a scenario far beyond the boundaries of sportsmanship and respect. The distressing episode occurred in the third quarter of the game. Players from Roosevelt High began chanting “free Palestine” among other comments, targeting the Leffell School players.
Senior Robin Bosworth of the Leffell School penned an op-ed expressing the escalating tensions experienced by her teammates. She recounted how, even in the first half of the game, there was an unusual level of hostility. Despite this, the team attempted to channel the aggression into their performance. Yet, the environment deteriorated further in the third quarter, with the opposition’s physical play causing injuries to some of Leffell’s team members. This was followed by the chanting of slurs and curses, including references to Hamas, the terrorist organization that recently attacked and killed over 1,000 Israeli civilians.
The situation on the basketball court escalated to such an extent that the game was abruptly canceled for safety concerns, and the Leffell School team had to be escorted out by security guards. The response from Roosevelt High School’s administration was swift. Their athletic director, Kyle Calabro, issued an apology and took decisive action: the team’s coach was fired, and a player involved in the incident was dismissed from the team.
This response is a necessary step in addressing the unacceptable behavior that transpired. It’s crucial for educational institutions to foster environments where students can engage in sports and other activities free from hatred and bigotry. The incident also raises broader questions about the role of schools in teaching respect, tolerance, and understanding across cultural and political divides. Additionally, it’s important to note that this incident at Roosevelt High comes on the heels of their boys’ basketball team alleging opposing teams had used racial slurs against them last year.
In conclusion, the incident at the basketball game between Leffell School and Roosevelt High School serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges schools face in cultivating environments of mutual respect and tolerance. The actions taken by Roosevelt High’s administration post-incident are steps in the right direction, but they also underscore the need for proactive measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.