A high school basketball referee got himself into serious hot water after making a supposed joke that has highly racist undertones attached to it before starting a match.
There are plenty of things that have become unacceptable to say as we’ve acknowledged the historic inequalities — whether it be as a result of race, gender, or ethnicity — that they have highlighted or reminded us of. One of those things, according to Yahoo News, is asking a high school basketball coach whether all his players have green cards.
This was the apparent joke made by the referee of a game between the freshman teams of Pueblo High School and Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona, on Tuesday. Prior to starting the match, he asked the visiting team’s (Pueblo High School) head coach this insulting question. The fact that approximately 89 percent of students at the school are Hispanic did not help.
Unfortunately for him, a parent overheard the flippant remark, and took to social media to write about the incident and post a photo of the referee. According to reports, the referee has also worked for border patrol, only making the question all the more ominous.
None of the players were on the court at the time he made the comment, but people in the crowd overheard him.
— FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) January 10, 2019
After the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) got wind of the incident, they made a statement to say that the referee had been fired the following morning.
On Thursday, they released a second statement about the incident, condemning the referee’s “joke,” saying that it did not comply with their ethical standards.
“During the course of pregame conversations between the basketball coach at an AIA member school and an assigned contest official, the official made an inappropriate comment overheard by parents in the surrounding area. Due to this comment, the official has been dismissed from working any further contests for the association. The comment, while made in jest and in no way was meant as an attempt of legal action, cannot be justified within the spirit of educational athletics.”
Tucson Unified School District Athletics Director Herman House also issued a statement, saying that he had been alerted to the referee’s comments by the Pueblo High School athletic director. It was House who contacted the AIA with regards to the incident, according to ABC News.
“Tucson Unified School District will continue to investigate and we strongly condemn any comments that have no place in an educational setting,” House said.