update deskAntisemitism

Fired high school girls’ basketball coach disputes antisemitic abuse at game

Bryan Williams said he was treated “very unfairly,” and that “they needed a scapegoat, and I was it.”

Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, N.Y. Credit: YonkersPublicSchools.org.
Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, N.Y. Credit: YonkersPublicSchools.org.

Following his dismissal on Monday from coaching the Roosevelt High School girls’ basketball team after its players hurled antisemitic abuse at Jewish players during a game, Bryan Williams is pushing back, claiming ignorance of the hate witnessed on the court.

The Dec. 4 game featured taunts of “free Palestine” against the Leffell School girls team from a private Jewish day school in Hartsdale, N.Y. One player also allegedly said, “I support Hamas, you f**king Jew.” The Jewish players left the court following the antisemitic statements with Roosevelt High forfeiting the game.

But Williams insists that he didn’t hear it or anything else objectionable and that he did an “excellent job with those girls.” He told the New York Post, “I personally did not hear any of it on the court. … I focus on my team and what we have to try to do to win and be successful. … We were just playing basketball.” 

Williams said the Yonkers school district’s decision to fire him wasn’t right and that he was treated “very unfairly.”

“They needed a scapegoat, and I was it. … They needed a fall guy,” he said. According to Williams, the investigation was not done effectively, and he regretted he could not finish the season.

Williams told News 12 Westchester that his firing “puts me in a bad light and makes people that don’t know me think that I’m a monster or I don’t like Jewish people, or I can’t navigate in a multicultural world, and that’s a lie. A total lie.”

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