High School Coaches Suspended After Organizing LGBT Charity Game

Coach Anthony Nicodemo says penalizing the event organizers "sends a really bad message."

Two New York high school coaches were suspended after organizing a charity basketball game to benefit their local chapter of GLSEN.

Basketball coach Anthony Nicodemo of Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers organized the game, where former Brooklyn Net Jason Collins spoke about being gay in the NBA.

“[It] was a pioneering event,” Nicodemo, who is gay, told Outsports. “It was special for everyone involved.”

Co-sponsored by Somers High School coach Chris DiCintio, the January event raised $800 for the Hudson Valley’s GLSEN chapter.

Nicodemo, DiCintio, and Saunders High School athletic director Jim Rose claim they got verbal approval from New York’s Section One Athletic Council prior to the event. But a month later, commissioner Jennifer Simmons suspended Nicodemo and DiCintio, insisting they never filed the necessary paperwork to sanction the event.

Nicodemo says everything was filled out correctly.

“My athletic director is tremendous with rules and regulations. So having [Simmons] tell him he doesn’t have to put in any paperwork, and then a month later says he had to put in paperwork, that puts us into a difficult spot here.”

There are “dozens” of different sporting events that aren’t officially sanctioned by the council, he adds.

“There was zero negativity about any of this event,” says Nicodemo. “So for the section to choose to attack this particular event, which was so positive, it sends a really bad message.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano voiced his support of Nicodemo and DiCintio on Twitter.

“This event… allowed student athletes to support inclusion and diversity, which is what the city of Yonkers is about,” he wrote. “My hope is that Section One reconsiders their position and a coach is not admonished over a technicality.”

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.