In a horrible example of rude, sexist and thoroughly discriminatory behavior, two radio announcers in Maine were fired for openly mocking members of a girl’s high school basketball team during a live broadcast.
The Associated Press reported that “the comments were made by two broadcasters on the Houlton radio station WHOU-FM on Thursday evening, Jan. 13, during a game between teams from Central Aroostook and Easton, near the Canadian border.”
According to AP, “One commenter called two players on the court ‘extremely overweight,’ and that was followed by additional derogatory comments and laughter. The comments were captured in a tweeted video.”
In a statement, Fred Grant, owner of the radio station, said he began receiving messages about the announcers’ behavior as soon as the comments aired. He said he immediately fired the announcers — Jim Carter and Steve Shaw — as soon as the broadcast had ended. Grant added that instructions for how announcers should behave during game coverage had been laid out previously. On-air talent is also told specifically to focus solely on the game and not make negative comments about players.
“It’s in writing,” Grant said. “It’s verbalized. It’s repeated. They knew the deal. It’s a colossal failure by them.”
Coverage of the episode from the Press Herald confirms the two announcers were experienced with sports coverage and should have known better.
“Shaw worked as athletic director at Easton High School until his retirement in 2019, and in August was inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in the Legends of the Game category,” the paper’s Travis Lazarczyk reported. “Carter is a retired teacher and coach at Caribou High School and has written three books about high school basketball in Aroostook County.”
Following the game, WHOU issued an apology to the community and the players, in particular, saying its mission continues to be highlighting the “best” of the community “and most importantly — our students.”
“Two broadcasters made comments that were not only inappropriate, they were also blatantly wrong,” a spokesperson for the station said. “Those broadcasters were terminated.”