NYC girls basketball team used antisemitic language towards Jewish team

January 8, 2024 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballCoaching
A high school girls basketball game in New York City was cut short when players from Roosevelt High School used antisemitic language towards players on the Leffell School.

Last week, the two schools faced off in a non-league contest before the Leffell School team needed a security escort off the court following rougher-than-usual play and strong antisemitic language.

antisemiticA recent story from the New York Post detailed the in-game altercation and how the coaches and referees responded.

Below is an excerpt from the New York Post story.

“I support Hamas, you f–king Jew,” a Roosevelt player snarled at a Leffell opponent, according to the New York City Public Schools Alliance, a group of parents and teachers fighting antisemitism.

From the outset, there was hostility and aggression with “substantially more jabs and comments thrown at the players on our team than what I have experienced in the past,” senior player Robin Bosworth wrote in an op-ed for Leffell’s student-run newspaper, the Lion’s Roar.

At the end of the third quarter, her teammates were getting injured by the rough play, and “players on the opposing team started shouting ‘Free Palestine’ and other antisemitic slurs and curses at us,” wrote Bosworth, also editor-in-chief of the school paper.

“I have played a sport every athletic season throughout my high school career, and I have never experienced this kind of hatred directed at one of my teams before,” Bosworth said.

“Instead of responding to hatred with more of the same, we chose to separate ourselves from the situation and leave with dignity and pride in who we are and what we believe in,” she continued.

Lions head coach John Tessitore consulted with his squad and decided to end the game, according to Michael Kay, Leffell’s head of school.

“Our team was playing on the road, and during the game, a small number of players on the opposing team directed hurtful, antisemitic comments toward members of our team,” Kay wrote in a letter to the school community.

About an hour into the game, a timeout was called, livestream footage shows, though no audio is heard. The Leffell players and Tessitore appear exasperated and he consults with the referees and the other team’s coach.

The Roosevelt players are seen gathering and appear to exchange words from afar with the Leffell players. Security steps in between both teams and the refs announce both teams suddenly exchange handshakes and security escorts them off the court.

Roosevelt High School agreed to a voluntary forfeit, according to a spokesman for the Yonkers district.

To read the full story from the New York Post, click here.