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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Africentric girls basketball coach Will McKinney, who received a one-game suspension for criticizing officials after a regional victory over Mount Blanchard Riverdale on March 8, said the officiating crew's failure to eject a fan sitting in the Riverdale student section for making pig calls when his players were shooting free throws led to his outburst.
After the Nubians won 85-46 at Lexington High School, McKinney said the officials were racially insensitive to his team, which is made up of African-Americans. One official was black.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association suspended McKinney one game and Africentric was fined an undisclosed amount.
The pig calls drew subdued laughter from some Riverdale students the first time but were ignored thereafter.
"I heard it, our players heard it and our fans heard it, so the officials had to hear it," McKinney said. "When my kids come to me and say they are having issues, my thing is how come nobody is doing anything about it? If someone yells something from the stands and the officials hear it, they should say, 'Hold it, that person right there has got to leave.' I want to see games policed a lot better."
McKinney has exchanged emails with OHSAA assistant commissioner Jerry Snodgrass about "racial relations between blacks and whites that sometimes become tense during games."
McKinney said he would like to see a committee comprising coaches, officials, administrators and OHSAA officials be formed to discuss the situation.
"I'm not saying the officials during that game were racially motivated -- no, no, no, no, no -- but that it was about (their not) handling the environment," he said.
McKinney praised the officials who worked Africentric's 60-31 victory over Archbold in the regional final Saturday at Lexington. He watched from the stands.
"The situation was great -- the best-officiated game I've seen all year -- and it wasn't great because of a coincidence," he said. "We had officials from the Ohio High School Athletic Association there, and I'm sure a supervisor of officials was there."
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