Actress Patricia Heaton reacted to the Irish Women’s basketball team being trounced by the Israeli team following the Ireland players’ “overt anti-Semitism” at the game.
In an X post on Thursday, the 65-year-old actress said the “Irish women’s basketball team got a good whoopin’ after displaying overt anti-Semitism toward the Israeli team.”
“They should have been forced to forfeit the game for their behavior, but that beat down was even better,” she added.
The Irish women’s basketball team got a good whoopin’ after displaying overt antisemitism toward the Israeli team. They should have been forced to forfeit the game for their behavior,but that beat down was even better. https://t.co/1tn4sAa39Z
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) February 9, 2024
It came after the Irish women’s basketball team refused to shake hands before and after the game with the Israeli players on Thursday at the 2025 Women’s European Championship qualifier in Riga, Latvia, where Israel trounced Ireland 87 to 57, the Telegraph noted.
Ireland Basketball previously issued a statement in January about how it might not play against the Israeli team when it said it had “raised strong concerns about these fixtures with Israel, including the option not to play the games” following the response to the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel that left at least 1,200 Israelis dead.
The game was initially to be played in Israel in November, but was moved to February amid the war in Gaza.
Two days before the match, Ireland’s team issued a statement blasting Israeli basketball player Dor Sa’ar who called the team “quite anti-Semitic.”
“It’s known that they are quite anti-Semitic and it’s no secret, and maybe that’s why a strong game is expected,” Sa’ar said. “We have to show that we’re better than them and win. We talk about it among ourselves. We know they don’t like us and we will leave everything on the field always and in this game.”
Before tip-off on Thursday, Basketball Ireland issued a statement that read, “Basketball Ireland informed Fiba Europe yesterday that as a direct result of recent comments made by Israeli players and coaching staff – including inflammatory and wholly inaccurate accusations of anti-Semitism, published on official Israeli federation channels – that our players will not be partaking in traditional pre-match arrangements with our upcoming opponents,” the outlet noted.
“This includes exchanging of gifts, formal handshakes before or after the game, while our players will line up for the Irish national anthem by our bench, rather than [center] court,” the statement added. “Basketball Ireland fully supports our players in their decision.”
Following Ireland’s team’s actions at the game, the team’s head coach James Weldon said, “I would prefer to be talking about basketball and not this, we didn’t engage in the pre-match activities as a direct result of those unwarranted and unacceptable comments from the Israeli camp about our players.”
“It was hugely disappointing, we came here for a game of basketball, we wanted to win, but didn’t come out on the right side of the result on this occasion,” Weldon added. “We had three international debutants in this game, we’re building a squad, so there’s positives to take from this game.”
After the Israel team’s victory, Israeli head coach Sharon Drucker said, “I’ve been in sports for many years, I’ve never seen such things in my life.”
“There was no game where you don’t give concessions, shake hands, congratulate each other,” Drucker added. “They took a step in an absolute way and they received their punishment today.”