St. John’s fires assistant fencing coach for racist remarks

NEW YORK (AP) — St. John’s University has fired an assistant fencing coach for racist remarks in a video posted to social media.

Boris Vaksman was recorded saying that the “majority” of blacks are troublemakers because “they don’t want to work,” and steal, do drugs and kill.

Vaksman, a native of Ukraine who has served as a coach for the United States junior national team, also said on the video that President Abraham Lincoln “made a mistake” when he helped end slavery in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation.

St. John’s, where Mr. Vaksman had been an assistant coach since 2006, fired him Wednesday.

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“As soon as the recording was brought to our attention the matter was immediately investigated and the individual was terminated by the university,” St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg said in a statement. “The racist comments expressed are completely unacceptable and a rejection of everything for which the university stands.”

Vaksman’s firing comes after weeks of protest over police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

USA Fencing promised an investigation after becoming aware of the recording.

“We are disgusted by these statements, which are racist, offensive and have no place in the USA Fencing community or in society as a whole,” the organization said in a statement.

A private fencing club in Manhattan also terminated a contract with Vaksman, according to the New York Post.

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