February 22, 2020
Framingham Youth Group Head Quits in Wake of Racist Texts

Jason Smith
November 22, 2019 — The president of Framingham Youth Football and Cheerleading, a Framingham-based nonprofit that conducts organized football and educational programs for children up to age 14, resigned on Wednesday, two weeks after racist text messages were reportedly exchanged between three coaches, since fired, became public.

Jason Smith, a long-time Framingham selectman until the town became a city two years ago, reportedly stepped down temporarily from the volunteer position at Framingham Youth Football and Cheerleading (FYFC) on Nov. 7, according to a report in the Patch, but a number of officials, including the president of the South Middlesex NAACP, demanded that he leave permanently.

The FYFC executive board terminated three coaches and removed two individuals from the board, according to a report today in the Framingham Source. The fired coaches were replaced by other FYFC coaches.

"In an email to families, President Jason Smith wrote he first saw a portion of the text exchange on Oct. 26, 2018, a day after fifth-grade assistant coach Robert Assarian resigned," according to a report in the MetroWest Daily News. "When Smith requested to meet with him to discuss his resignation, Assarian sent him a screenshot of an “inappropriate text exchange between Assarian and some other coaches with the words ”—ghetto’ and ”—shoot MPR’s’ [Mandatory Play Rules]."

"The racist texts, which included use of the N-word, surfaced on Nov. 6. Smith fired three coaches who exchanged them that same day after the messages were leaked to local media," the Patch reported.

On Nov. 7, the FYFC board of directors in a letter to the FYFC community, wrote, "In the last 48 hours, we were made aware of reprehensible and racially charged text messages between some of our coaches that violate this mission and our principles as an organization.

"We immediately launched a thorough investigation, and, upon confirming the validity of these messages, terminated the coaches connected to this matter and severed their ties to our league."

An investigator hired by the FYFC board following initial reports of the texts recommended that the organization "institute new protocols to prevent similar events in the future,” the Framingham Source reported, which will include additional training and/or education of coaches and board members in a variety of areas.

The incident reportedly caused many Framingham residents to take action. According to the Patch, the Black Student Union at Framingham High School organized an effort to educate the community about how the harm of racism and use of the "N-word". In addition, a group called Framingham Stands United Against Hate reportedly formed.

“The events of the past few weeks have been difficult for everyone. We will do better going forward,” the FYFC board wrote in a letter issued today, the Framingham Source reported.

FYFC reported $96,882 in revenue and $95,758 in expenses for the year ending Feb. 28, 2019, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

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