Brooklyn College Students Concerned About New Men’s Volleyball Coach’s Tweets

Joel Anabilah-Azumah. Photo/Twitter @JoelAzumah.


Additional reporting by Alanis Guinada. 

In November 2022, the Brooklyn College Department of Athletics appointed Joel Anabilah-Azumah as head coach of the men’s volleyball team. Anabilah-Azumah’s first appearance as coach was at the Jan. 22 matchup against Alvernia University.

But some students on the Brooklyn College campus are concerned about Anabilah-Azumah’s hiring. Anabilah-Azumah, a Republican, ran for public office in the 9th Congressional District but lost to incumbent Yvette D. Clarke. Students in the Brooklyn College community have expressed concern over Anabilah-Azumah’s public Twitter account, which he updates regularly.

“Drag is not for kids. No sex ed before 5th grade. No transitioning before age 21. Let people figure themselves out first. If you hate this you are a groomer,” reads one of Anabilah-Azumah’s Tweets from Dec. 10, 2022.

Brooklyn College students say they are worried for the safety of their classmates who may identify as part of a community Anabilah-Azumah discusses on his Twitter page.

“There are students here who are a part of that community so if he’s against it then that doesn’t sound safe for his students because anything can happen,” says Brooklyn College student Jamila Lloyd.

“Are you sure his Twitter is not satire?” asks Fantasia Griffth, as she scrolls through the coach’s Twitter feed.

Other Tweets from Anabilah-Azumah seem to target racial groups. In a Tweet dated Jan. 4, 2023, Anabilah-Azumah quoted @TheRabbitHole84’s account, which included a simple graph labeled “Time high school students spend on homework by race and parent’s income.”

Anabilah-Azumah reshared the Tweet, and added his own thoughts to the post.

“I must be Asian. It was rare to have less than 2 hours of homework in high school,” Anabilah-Azumah Tweeted.

Anabilah-Azumah, whose Twitter bio reads “Stop World War 3 and the coming draft. Free speech for everyone. Reinvest in America,” Tweets frequently about the LGBTQ community.

On Sept. 27, 2022, he Tweeted, “Do you think “Gays Against Groomers” are against LGBT people?” In the Tweet, he Retweeted a video from @againstgrmrs which shows a child interacting with an entertainer.

Noah Yuan-Voge, @noahyv, responded to Anabilah-Azumah’s Tweet.

“Wait, a child wants to touch a shiny mermaid costume for a second and you think that’s “grooming” because an adult pelvis is at her eye level?  I don’t think grooming means what you think it means.  Have you ever been around children?”

Anabilah-Azumah responded directly to @noahyv.

“I have and when they try to touch something they shouldn’t, we redirect them. Have you ever been paid to be around children? Did you see anyone on the stage redirect the kid? Boundaries are everything, Noah. It is something we teach kids very early on.”

Prior to his new role as Brooklyn College Men’s volleyball head coach, Anabilah-Azumah served as an assistant coach at various colleges. Anabilah-Azumah began his college coaching career at NCAA Division I Iona College as an assistant for the women’s program in 2013. In three seasons with the Gaels, he was on a staff that helped lead the team to back-to-back MAAC Tournament appearances.

In 2016, he then joined the FIT Women’s Volleyball Team. Later in 2019, Saint Peter’s University Women’s Volleyball appointed him as an assistant coach.

Anabilah-Azumah also owns and operates TransportAzumah, a charter and scheduled bus service in the NYC metro area.

The Brooklyn News Service reached out to Anabilah-Azumah for comment about his public Twitter account and his role with the team.

“I could make generalizations about the kind of people that have problems with my tweets, but conversations are typically more productive when I see exactly what is being said,” said Anabilah-Azumah over email.

The Brooklyn News service reached out to the acting Director of Athletics, Alex Lang, who said, “Sorry, I have to run these things through communications.”

A Feb. 16 email was sent to Richard Pietras, Media Relations Contact at the Office of Communications and Marketing. The Brooklyn News Service did not receive a response. Multiple in-person attempts were made to reach the department.

A Feb. 16 email was sent to Bruce Filosa, former Director of Recreation, Intramurals and Intercollegiate Athletics. The Brooklyn News Service did not receive a response.