Newkirk Girls Basketball Announcer Removed After He Described Girls' Names As 'Disgusting'
A Newkirk Public Schools announcer was removed from his duties at halftime of a high school girls basketball game after describing the opponents' names as "disgusting."
The announcer was in the middle of pregame introductions of Friday's Newkirk-Crooked Oak matchup in north Oklahoma when he prefaced his introduction of Crooked Oak's girls basketball team.
"Now, their names are pretty disgusting, but I'm gonna (sic) try to call them out," the announcer said.
"What did he just say?" a person in the stands said. "No, he didn't say that."
The announcer has not been identified.
Parents of girls on the Crooked Oak team said they couldn’t believe what they heard.
“He never said, ‘Oh, I am sorry,” Tremekkia White, a Crooked Oak player’s mother, said. “He didn’t say, ‘My apologies, let’s try and get through these names together.’ He just kept going and didn’t miss a stride.”
The girls said most of them felt uneasy playing after the announcer’s comment.
“It made me feel very uncomfortable and I really didn’t want to play,” Crooked Oak player Jaiana Wiggins said.
The Crooked Oak team did play and took home the program’s first district championship in more than 20 years.
However, the girls’ parents lament that the achievement has been overshadowed by the Newkirk announcer’s comment.
“None of us have said that he is (sic) racist,” White said. “But what we are saying is what he said was despicable and the girls should have been given a public apology like they were demeaned publicly.”
Newkirk Superintendent of Schools Brady Barnes released a statement late Saturday morning, which read in part:
"While introducing players at Friday night's girls high school basketball game, the District's long-time announcer made an unfortunate and inappropriate personal comment concerning the names of some of the Crooked Oak players. In around 20 years of announcing Newkirk games, this is the first time something like this has occurred."
Barnes also said that he "sincerely" apologized for "pain or affront our announcer's comment has caused Crooked Oak players, parents, patrons, and school employees."
Because the incident involves an employee of Newkirk Public Schools, Barnes said he is "not at liberty to speak" on any personnel actions that may be taken in the future.
According to the parents and girls, no one from either school has reached out to check on them personally. They have only seen social media posts.
“I think that our girls deserve an apology,” Lorna Pollard, who has girls on the Crooked Oak team, said. “The school takes them to places and it is their responsibility to make sure they feel safe and that they have their backs when needed.”