BY Stephen Nartey, 5:25pm February 14, 2024,

New York high school girls basketball team pull out of game after claims of racial abuse

Basketball/Photo credit: NBA

Two New York state school districts are conducting investigations into allegations of spectators hurling racial epithets at high school girls during a varsity basketball game.

According to Dejane Buckley, a sophomore point guard from East Ramapo, the incident occurred during the fourth period of the February 10 game against Scarsdale, where Scarsdale players on the bench screamed at her players and were subsequently followed by spectators who allegedly directed racial slurs, including the derogatory term “black N-words,” at her team, according to the New York Post.

“Our coach realized that from the stands they were saying ‘Black n-words,’” Buckley, who wasn’t playing because of a torn ACL, told The Journal News.

During the game, East Ramapo’s coach called a timeout to address the situation, and a woman from the Scarsdale side acknowledged hearing the racial slurs. Buckley reported that her team chose to forfeit the game due to the hostile environment.

However, as they walked off the court with approximately four minutes remaining, the racial slurs continued.

School officials from both sides condemned the hatred and racial slurs that marred a varsity basketball game between East Ramapo and Scarsdale. The incident occurred during a Scarsdale-sponsored breast cancer awareness event and fundraiser for the V Foundation, a charity established by basketball legend Jim Valvano.

East Ramapo Superintendent Clarence G. Ellis expressed regret over the reported racial slurs directed at East Ramapo players during the game.

“The use of racial epithets and other bigoted language meant to hurt someone based on their skin color have no place in high school athletics or anywhere in our community.”

Athletic directors from both school districts have initiated investigations into the reports of racial slurs during the game. In a joint statement issued by directors Ray Pappalardi from Scarsdale and Greg Russo from East Ramapo, they expressed sadness over the outcome, noting that the incident tarnished what was intended to be a day of bringing communities together for a common purpose.

“So far, this review has not identified a specific individual or group who engaged in any inappropriate conduct,” the statement continued.

“Despite the absence of specific information, we view any act against the dignity of any student-athlete as unacceptable. I know that the Scarsdale and East Ramapo communities join us in denouncing all acts of hate.”

The investigation into reported racial slurs during the basketball game is being conducted by the school districts, with oversight from Section 1 Athletics, according to Todd Santabarbara, Section 1’s executive director.

This incident is not the first instance of racism disrupting basketball games in the region. In early January, girls’ basketball players from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers allegedly made antisemitic remarks towards players from Leffell School, a Jewish school in Hartsdale.

The Roosevelt coach was sacked and the school authorities relieved a player of his duties on the team following the incident. Other incidents included spectators hurling racial slurs at Nyack High School cheerleaders during an October 2023 football game, taunting of a black Nyack basketball player during a February 2022 game against Pearl River, and a Pearl River student using the “N-word” during a 2022 track meet, as reported by The Journal News.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 14, 2024

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