CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he’s sorry if he offended anyone by calling some high school basketball players “thugs” thus week. Justice – who coaches the Greenbrier East High School girls team – made the comments after a game that was often physically rough and tense Tuesday night against Woodrow Wilson High School.
“If I’ve offended anyone by what I’ve said, I would have never said that and I am sorry for saying that, if I’ve offended anyone. But at the same time, for crying out loud, you know the other coaches – one of the coaches – is charged by obstructing a police officer,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
And many members of the Legislature criticized him, for a poor choice of words.
“No adult should ever try to bring down any young person, by using any type of derogatory word,” said Del. Danielle Walker, (D) Monongalia.
“We need to get this issue behind us and the best way to do that is for the governor to apologize for calling high school athletes thugs,” said Del. Tim Miley, (D) Harrison – Minority Leader.
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.
Justice hopes the two teams will cool off, before they face each other again.
“A long-time school teacher who is now in the House of Delegates told me this should be a teachable moment for the student athletes, and the adults, especially Governor Justice, so this kind of incident doesn’t happen again,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.