No matter what form, bullying and hateful speech is never funny, appropriate or acceptable.
This might seem like a lesson we learn as children in grade school — a lesson adults should know.
Last week, Mark Banton, who calls Cleburne High School games for JacketRadio.com, covered an Arlington Seguin football game where he called the Seguin Cougars players the “Cougroes.”
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He also mocked a cheerleader’s weight.
That a 63-year-old man would use racial and derogatory terms when speaking about children is unfathomable. Bullying at any level is inexcusable, and adults know better.
Not only did the announcer use derogatory language toward children that will last far longer than the weekend, he contributed to creating a potentially hostile environment for students and their families.
You can stand up today and speak out for the Seguin players, cheerleaders and others who are treated poorly. Give them your voice, lend your support, be vocal when you see this type of behavior.
Everyone can help make it clear this behavior is not normal.
It is unclear whether Banton made previous comments this year, the first that JacketRadio.com broadcast Cleburne’s games. We do know he is no longer affiliated with the website and will not call Cleburne games.
Schools and districts determine who receives rights and credentials for sports events (the Star-Telegram covers hundreds of events each year). Though districts don’t always require a contract, there should be a process to evaluate the growing number of webcast announcers.
The state University Interscholatic League doesn’t govern broadcasts or webcasts of regular-season games, but school districts should still engage in a vetting process. They should adhere to the same policies as educators and students.
Because — who wants to tune into a high school football game just to hear an adult announcer mock or criticize children and call them racist names? That isn’t what Friday night football is about.
Going to a high school football game is part of the high school experience. It’s part of the fiber and culture of living in Texas. Yet the purpose is still education.
Sportsmanship, personal betterment, learning how to work as a team — these are the goals of high school sports, not an adult’s selfish amusement.