School District Fires Black Coach for Antisemitism It Admits He Did Not Take Part In

Kevin A. Thompson
January 12, 2024

Yonkers, New York, city schools fired a basketball coach over alleged antisemitic comments made against an opposing Jewish team on January 4,  2024.

The game was between the Roosevelt High School of Early College Studies and the Lefell School, formerly Solomon Schecter school, a private Jewish K-12 school in nearby Hartsdale, NY.

In the third quarter, Roosevelt was leading 45-17. Referees halted the game when a Lefell student said a Roosevelt player had hurled “antisemitic” comments at them.

Coach Bryan Williams of Roosevelt, who is Black, agreed to forfeit the game, and told his players to apologize during the handshake line. Coach Williams said he heard no antisemitic comments from his team. School security agents escorted both teams out of the gym.

On January 8, Coach Williams was fired, and one of his players was suspended. Williams has maintained the video recorded no curses or antisemitic slurs during the game. 

Robin Bosworth, Lefell senior and player in the game, wrote in her school’s online newspaper The Lion’s Roar, that the Yonkers players were physically aggressive. “At the end of the quarter, players on the opposing team started shouting ‘Free Palestine’ and other antisemitic slurs and curses at us.”

Yonkers Schools internal investigations confirmed that the phrase “Free Palestine” was used by a player on the court. 

Interim superintendent Dr. Luis Rodriguez said on camera “The fact that the coach was separated from employment with Yonkers Public School District in no way infers that he was participating or acquiesced in any form of antisemitism.”

So, if he was not guilty of antisemitism, why was he fired for a player’s alleged antisemitism?

Coach Williams said he is the scapegoat for the incident.  He is demanding an apology and said this firing could ruin his 17-year coaching career. 


“Yonkers High School Basketball Coach, Player dismissed After Antisemitic Incident at Game,” by Samantha Beech, Maria Sole Campotti, CNN Wire, January 8, 2024,

“Fired Roosevelt High School Coach Says He Heard no Antisemitic Remarks, Seeks Public Apology,” by Nancy Haggerty, Rockland/Westchester Journal-News, January 12, 2024,

“Antisemitism at the Girls Varsity Basketball Game,” by Robin Bosworth ‘24,  The Lion’s Roar: the online student-run newspaper of the Lefell School, January 4, 2024.

“‘I'm Not Antisemitic’ Fired Yonkers Varsity Basketball Coach Believes He Was Scapegoated by District,” by Jonathan Gordon,, January 8, 2024.

Photo: "Three Point Shoot" by Massimo Finizio, from Wikimedia Commons