With so many protests going on across the country to denounce racial injustice, it’s almost shocking that public figures are continuing to make racist comments that will almost assuredly be publicized.
But that’s exactly what we’re dealing with in the case of St. John’s fencing assistant coach (now former coach) Boris Vaksman. Late last week, a video surfaced of Vaksman saying – among other racist things – that Abraham Lincoln made a mistake when he freed the slaves. Per Yahoo! Sports, the recording was made during a Zoom call earlier this month.
It didn’t take long for a massive backlash to ensue. Vaksman was fired for his comments this past Wednesday. In a statement, St. Johns’s athletic director Michael Cragg rebuked Vaksman and declared his words “completely unacceptable.”
“As soon as the recording was brought to our attention the matter was immediately investigated and the individual no longer works at the university,” St. John’s Athletic Director Michael Cragg wrote in a statement. “The racist comments expressed are completely unacceptable and a rejection of everything for which the university stands.”
NEW: @StJohnsU D1 fencing coach Boris Vaskman was fired for saying Abe "Lincoln made a mistake" when he helped free all those enslaved Black people.
This video was provided to me and is circulating the fencing community on Instagram. Story here: https://t.co/6fvLdSrgAl pic.twitter.com/eVu43m08DL
— Bradford William Davis (@_beewilly) June 11, 2020
Vaksman’s punishment hasn’t just been reserved for his college coaching job. He has reportedly been suspended from the prestigious Fencers Club in New York City. USA Fencing is also considering action.
As of writing, Vaksman has not released a statement of his own.
Hopefully other coaches or public figures with a mind to say the things Vaksman said will learn from this.