High school football radio broadcaster fired over racist comments about opposing team

Stories like this really make me angry. 

As someone who has been in sportscasting for nearly 20 years, many of those years spent broadcasting high school sports, I take offense to the black eye that a man named Mark Banton put on my industry. 

Let's head to Texas for the story, via Cam Smith of USA TODAY. 

Banton was calling a football game between Cleburne and Arlington Seguin for Cleburne's JacketRadio.com. Throughout the broadcast, Banton apparently referred to Seguin’s team, nicknamed the Cougars, as the “Cougroes.” 

Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Seguin’s student body is 37.5 percent African-American and 14 percent white while Cleburne’s is 49 percent white and 3.4 percent African-American.

But wait, there's more. 

During a break in the action, Banton offered up the worst kind of drop-in possible about one of Seguin's cheerleaders: 

“Can we talk about that Seguin cheerleader …? What do you think [inaudible] should do with that? … Jenny Craig has a lot to do — a lot of work to do with her.”

Banton was identified by the Star-Telegram as the broadcaster. Asked multiple times by the Star-Telegram about comments that he allegedly gave during the game, Banton responded, “I have nothing to say.”

He won't be able to say anything behind a microphone, either.

On Friday, KRLD news radio reporter Andrew Greenstein reported that the commentator responsible for the racially insensitive remarks will not return to cover any additional Cleburne events. The Star-Telegram confirmed that Banton was no longer affiliated with JacketRadio.com and would not be in the booth for the team’s next game.

“With regards to the story appearing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s website and newspaper, and the line referring to Jenny Craig — I will concur that this may have been a bit out of line and certainly not what I or JacketRadio stand for,” Banton said to the Cleburne Times-Review on Friday morning. “I will contend, however, that nobody called anyone a name, referred to race or referred to anyone in particular other than, ‘front line on the right.’ The game was on the radio, not TV. Again, if someone was offended by this, I apologize.”

There's no place for someone like this behind a microphone passing himself off as a broadcaster. These are high school athletes and students. These are kids. These are human beings. 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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