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Southern Idaho Announcer Fired Over 'Thugs' Comment

Paul Steinbach
Kylie Osullivan Bfa Blvcbti8 Unsplash

The College of Southern Idaho terminated the contract of play-by-play announcer Jonathan Drew for a comment made during a broadcast of a men’s basketball game Wednesday night.

As reported by the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho, a video of the game shows CSI player Chris James falling hard to the floor during a play involving Salt Lake City Community College player Jordan Brinson, who is Black. Drew, having witnessed what he considered to be hard fouls committed by SLCC players earlier in the game, asked, “Who are these thugs?”

The College of Southern Idaho, which played SLCC this week, denounced its announcers’ comments on Thursday and immediately terminated his contract.

“The College of Southern Idaho and the CSI Athletic Department want to apologize to the Salt Lake Community College players, coaches, and fans for the comments made during the broadcast,” Southern Idaho athletic director Joel Bate said in a prepared statement, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. “CSI does not condone and will not tolerate these types of remarks. They do not reflect our values as an institution of higher education or as a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association. We have the utmost respect for the SLCC Athletic Department and for their student-athletes."

Drew said Brinson “hammered” James on the open-court foul in question.

“Who are these thugs?” the announcer then said. “That is the third time he has been pounded down to the floor at the bucket by these guys.”

Brinson is a former Utah Valley player who is in his first season with SLCC. He also played for the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

“This is really an opportunity for all of us to become more aware and mindful of the words we use to describe others, which can potentially be inappropriate and insensitive,” SLCC athletic director Kevin Dustin said in a statement cited by the Tribune..

“We do not believe the comment reflects the values of [Southern Idaho] as we’ve come to know them over the years.”

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