CLEBURNE, Texas- A Cleburne sports broadcaster called Arlington Seguin football players “Cougroes” and made fun of a Seguin cheerleader’s weight during the radio broadcast of Seguin’s game against Cleburne last week, according to audio obtained by the Star-Telegram.
Mark Banton of JacketRadio.com acknowledged that he was one of the broadcasters at the Cleburne-Seguin game and would neither confirm nor deny making the comments.
“I am aware of the accusations and I have nothing to say about it,” Banton told the Star-Telegram on Thursday.
On Friday, the Cleburne school district told the Star-Telegram that Banton is no longer affiliated with JacketRadio.com and will not work Friday night’s game against Burelson.
“JacketRadio.com regrets and apologizes for the inappropriate and unprofessional comments made by one of our commentators, Mark Banton, at last Friday’s football game with Arlington-Seguin. Remarks expressed were totally uncalled for and we apologize for any embarrassment and hurt they may have caused to the football program, cheerleaders, students and staff of Arlington-Seguin High School, and Arlington ISD. We also want to apologize to Cleburne ISD, the Cleburne community, our sponsors and listeners.
Mr. Banton is no longer affiliated with JacketRadio.com.
When JacketRadio.com began last May, we stated then that we were not here to be negative or editorialize. We were not here to downplay our team or the teams we were playing. That remains our mission and the standard for every broadcast.
The views and opinions expressed on JacketRadio.com are not and have never been those of Cleburne ISD. We are a separate entity and no CISD employees are affiliated with our website nor have we received any compensation from the school district. We wish to continue our coverage of Cleburne ISD sports, to promote the hard work and talents of our student athletes, and to honor all student athletes across Texas.”
Arlington school district officials said Thursday that JacketRadio.com will not be allowed to broadcast games involving their schools. They also reported the broadcaster’s behavior to the University Interscholastic League, the governing body of high school athletics in Texas.
The broadcaster made racially charged comments throughout the game, sometimes singling out players, said Arlington school district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston.
Cleburne school district officials said they are investigating the matter.
“Cleburne ISD does not condone unethical, unprofessional or unacceptable comments,” said Lisa Magers, a school district spokeswoman. “When our school district was notified by Arlington ISD officials of the situation, we immediately began addressing the concern.”
Cleburne and Seguin are in District 9-5A, which also includes schools from Burleson, Crowley, Everman and Granbury. Cleburne plays at Burleson on Friday.
Seguin beat Cleburne in the game 30-16.
‘I have nothing to say’
When asked if he called the Seguin players “Cougroes” — apparently a combination of Seguin’s mascot, the Cougar, with negroes — Banton said: “I have nothing to say about it.”
Arlington Seguin’s student body is 37.5 percent African-American and 14 percent white. Cleburne High is 49 percent white and 3.4 percent African-American, the report explained.
On the audio, Banton also singled out a Seguin cheerleader, apparently making a joke about the girl’s weight.
“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.”