BECKLEY, WV (WOWK) – Less than one day after West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued an apology of sorts for calling members of the Woodrow Wilson High School girl’s basketball team “a bunch of thugs,” that high schools principal has responded.
Rocky Powell, Principal of Woodrow Wilson High School, released an official statement after the fight that happened at the Woodrow-Wilson vs. Greenbrier East game on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.
The statement reads as follows:
“As many are aware, the Woodrow Wilson High School girls’ basketball team experienced an unfortunate event at Greenbrier East High School earlier this week. During a timeout taken in the fourth quarter of the game, a WWHS assistant coach approached his administrator and asked the administrator to address an opposing fan who had been using derogatory language and gestures towards him throughout the game. At no time did the assistant coach enter the stands. At no time did the assistant coach engage in a physical altercation with the opposing fan.
During the continued timeout, the referees made the decision to call the game. In the following days, five WWHS basketball team members were suspended for two games. Our girls were not part of any altercation; however, the WVSSAC chose to administer discipline based on its determination that they left the bench during the timeout.
Immediately following the game and in the days thereafter, Woodrow Wilson High School students have been subjected to unfortunate and inappropriate remarks by the coach of the Greenbrier East High School girls’ basketball team. The remarks show complete lack of respect for our students and coaches. We are proud of how our players and coaches have conducted themselves in the last few days throughout these unfortunate circumstances.
Justice says his “thugs” comment was not a racial slur, but rather a concern that the game got too violent and unsafe.
“What happened is very, very bad behavior, coming down from the top, to our children and everything, and we cannot have that,” said Governor Justice.
The Governor’s comments have been widely condemned within the legislature from both Republicans and Democrats.