The fired high school basketball coach says he’s being made a scapegoat over anti-Semitism claims after the Jewish team accused his former players of shouting, “I support Hamas!”
- The January 4 match ended in a Roosevelt forfeit following accusations of anti-Semitism
- Players at Leffell, a Jewish school, accused Roosevelt of being too physical
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A fired basketball coach in Yonkers, New York, says he is being scapegoated in response to accusations of anti-Semitism against his players.
Former Roosevelt High School coach Bryan Williams told the BBC New York Post that he did a “great job with those girls” before his recent firing, which ended his three-year tenure with the team.
Williams was fired Sunday after some of his players allegedly made anti-Semitic comments to a visiting team from the Leffell School, a private Jewish school in nearby Hartsdale. Roosevelt agreed to forfeit the January 4 game when Leffell players left the field in protest before being escorted off by security into what was described by one visiting player as a “somewhat hostile environment.”
That girl, Leffell senior Robin Bosworth, claimed in her school newspaper that Roosevelt’s players were too physical, adding that they began shouting “‘Free Palestine’ and other anti-Semitic insults and curses at us,” including one girl shouting : ‘I support Hamas, you damn Jew.’
However, Williams denies that he heard anything about this: ‘I personally didn’t hear anything about it on the track. I don’t condone what was allegedly done. I don’t approve of that. “I’m focusing on my team and what we have to try to do to win and be successful.”
Bryan Williams (pictured) said he is being scapegoated over claims of anti-Semitism
In her school newspaper, Leffell’s Robin Bosworth (left) accused Roosevelt players of anti-Semitism
Roosevelt fired Williams and kicked one player off the team on Sunday.
Speaking to the Post, Williams said the graduate “treated me very unfairly.”
“They needed a scapegoat, and I was it,” he said. “They needed a fall guy.”
Williams insists he has told his players to “act appropriately,” adding, “That’s what I told them – everyone.”
And when told what his players were accused of, Williams insisted he had told the girls in question to apologise, adding that they had no chance as the match ended abruptly.
He also rejected claims that his players were too physical.
“We were just playing basketball,” Williams said.
Interim Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools Dr. Luis Rodriguez and Mayor Mike Spano issued a joint statement on Sunday.
“Collectively, we do not and will not tolerate any form of hate speech from our students and community,” the statement said. “The anti-Semitic rhetoric allegedly leveled against Leffell School student-athletes is abhorrent, inappropriate and inconsistent with the values we hold for our youth.”
IMAGE: Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, New York, where the game took place
Williams remains skeptical of Yonkers’ investigation into the case and the allegations against his now former players.
“I can’t say who did what,” Williams said. “All I focused on was my team and how we play, what we need to do to be successful and win.”
“We won by a big margin, so I was shocked because again, I don’t think my girls would do that.”
Williams also gave an exclusive interview Westchester News 12 in which he denied being an anti-Semite.
“It puts me in a bad light and makes people who don’t know me think I’m a monster, or that I don’t like Jewish people, or that I can’t navigate a multicultural world, and that’s a lie ‘, he said. said.