HS Basketball Game Ended by Antisemitic Slurs

Players on Jewish girls team say aggressive play, antisemitic remarks marred game
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2024 9:20 AM CST
Coach, Player Dismissed After Antisemitic Incident at Game
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/matimix)

A New York varsity high school basketball game ended early last week, after one of the teams accused the other of antisemitic remarks and actions, and now a coach has been fired and a player dismissed. WABC reports that the game between the girls' teams at the Leffell School, a Jewish private school located in Hartsdale, and Roosevelt High School Early College Studies, a public school in Yonkers, came to a close in the third quarter after Leffell players complained of increasingly aggressive play and offensive remarks.

In an op-ed for the Lion's Roar, Leffell's student paper, player Robin Bosworth noted the game began Thursday in "a somewhat hostile environment, with substantially more jabs and comments thrown at the players on our team than what I have experienced in the past." Things worsened in the third quarter, Bosworth wrote, with Leffell players starting to get injured from the rough gameplay. "Free Palestine!" and "other antisemitic slurs and curses" were also lobbed at them, per Bosworth. The Yonkers Times reports that one Roosevelt player said, "I support Hamas, you f---ing Jew."

"Attacking a team because of their school's religious association is never acceptable, but especially due to the current war in Israel and the world's rise in antisemitism, this felt extremely personal to me and many members of my team," Bosworth wrote. She noted that she and her teammates decided to end the game in the third quarter "as the other team did not show sportsmanlike conduct." "We chose to separate ourselves from the situation and leave with dignity and pride in who we are and what we believe in," she added.

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In a joint statement, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers Public Schools issued an apology to the Leffell School for the "painful and offensive comments," adding that the remarks were "abhorrent, inappropriate, and not in line with the values we set forth for our young people." The officials also noted that an unnamed coach and player had been dismissed, and that the school district would "administer further counseling and guided training sessions amongst the school community ... to prevent this from happening again." Even New York Gov. Kathy Hochul weighed in, posting a link to a news story about the incident on X and noting, "This cannot be who we are as New Yorkers. No one should ever be subjected to antisemitism or any kind of hate." An investigation is ongoing, with the possibility of other players facing discipline, according to officials. (More antisemitism stories.)

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