High school basketball fans in Pearl River were accused of racist taunting during Wednesday's game as a Black player got ready to take a free-throw shot from the foul line. According to the Journal News, Nyack's varsity basketball team captain Harrison Jordan and teammate, Kameron Kukielczak were on the court when they heard monkey and ape noises from the crowd.
"It happened three different times. You hear it but you don't believe it," Jordan, a senior said. Kukielczak, who is a sophomore, noted that he did anticipate a rough home crowd for Pearl River but not this. Jordan noted that he heard the racial chants on three different occasions.
A video showed the crowd hurling racial taunts while Jordan was shooting free throws during a varsity basketball Pirates home game on Wednesday. However, the people making the sounds were not visible in the footage. School superintendents in both Pearl River and Nyack expressed anger at the incident.
Nyack school board President Terence Rock reportedly expressed astonishment over the fact that everyone in the gym knew something was awry during the game but no one stepped up and dealt with it. "Why didn't any of them say, Stop. Hey, who did that?'" he said.
Pearl River Superintendent Marco Pochintesta, on the other hand, acknowledged the incident in a letter to his community on Thursday. He noted in his letter that he was 'outraged' by the actions of the crowd.
"This behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances and the students involved will be addressed," he added.
Pochintesta also noted that a similar racial jeering amongst the crowd happened during a game in late January. New York Public High School Athletic Association officials said termed the racial verbal attacks against Nyack's 18-year-old team captain as 'disturbing, alarming, and disappointing.'
According to a report by the state's education department, 2% of the Pearl River school district is Black. The captain, Jordon, however, noted that he was proud of the way his team handled the incident. Pearl River's high school team's entire lineup on the floor was all white when Jordan was hurled racial jeerings on the video.
Pearl River High School won the game by a score of 55-45.