Parents, players speak out after announcer accused of making racist comments before Newkirk HS basketball game

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NEWKIRK, Okla. (KFOR) — Members of the Crooked Oak High School lady’s basketball team and their parents are speaking out after an announcer was caught on camera making an inappropriate comment during their game at Newkirk High School. 

“The Crooked Oak Lady Ruff Necks, now their names are pretty disgusting,” an announcer is heard saying on cell phone video while announcing the names of the Crooked Oak girls basketball players at Newkirk High School. 

The players and their parents say they are still in shock after hearing that comment during their district game on Friday. 

“We all looked at each other like, did he just say, is that real? Like did he really just say that?” Iyana Freeman, one of the players, told News 4. 

Freeman and other players said they didn’t really have time to process what they had just heard. 

“I was just trying to make sure my teammates were okay. Because I knew, I could tell they were affected by how that was said,” Freeman said. 

“I was actually kind of scared on the court. I was like watching every move that I did,” Jaiana Wiggins, another player, said. 

It’s a feeling that no parent wants for their child, especially during a big game. 

“It was like, I knew, or I thought that that’s what he had just said but I didn’t want to believe it,” Lorna Pollard, one of the parents, said. 

In an email sent to News 4, a friend of the announcer claims, “The announcer mixed up his words and didn’t realize that he said disgusting. He thought he said difficult.” 

“He never paused. He never said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I meant difficult, my apologies ladies,'” Tremekkia White, another parent, said in response. 

The superintendent for Newkirk Public Schools, Brady Barnes, sent News 4 this statement: 

“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. While he did not make any similar comments, I made the decision to replace him at halftime of the girl’s basketball game.
To the Newkirk and Crooked Oak communities at large, I would like to say that this unfortunate comment does not represent the Newkirk Public Schools or its beliefs. We sincerely apologize for any pain or affront our announcer’s comment has caused Crooked Oak players, parents, patrons, and school employees.
Because this matter involves an employee of Newkirk Public Schools, I am not at liberty to speak on whatever personnel actions may be taken in the future.”

Crooked Oak Public Schools posted on Facebook about it, saying the Newkirk administration apologized to the district. 

However, the girls’ parents said they would like to see a more personal apology. 

“They never relayed that to the girls. The girls didn’t hear anything from the school system on either side,” Pollard said. 

“The girls should have been given a public apology, the same way they were demeaned publicly,” White said.

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