Community supports student athletes after derogatory comments by local announcers

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 10:26 PM EST
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EASTON, Maine (WAGM) - Last night WHOU basketball announcers Jim Carter and Steve Shaw made harmful and derogatory comments about female basketball players during a live stream of a JV game. They have since been fired. Tonight, we hear from the community. In agreement with those we interviewed, we will not be airing the footage or audio from last night’s incident as we do not want to contribute to further harm to the students involved. Tonight, we focus on community support and the importance of mental health and body positivity for youth in our community.

Easton students were the subject of offensive on-air comments last night made by WHOU basketball announcers Jim Carter and Steve Shaw. Mark Stanley, superintendent of Easton School Department said their priority walking into school today was supporting all their students.

“Those kind of comments are certainly not what were about here at Easton, and I think any school system would say that same thing,” said Stanley. “It’s inappropriate, it’s nonsense, and inexcusable.”

They encouraged students to talk with Easton’s high school principal and counselor, but Stanley also emphasized that the community showed it’s support for their students.

“I’ve heard from a lot of schools across the County offering support,” said Stanley. “We’ve had a parent deliver flowers to the school, and sent very nice notes in support of student athletes and athletic programs and our girls, so its been a community wide support.”

Fred Grant, owner of WHOU, said the both broadcasters were terminated after commenting on the student athletes’ appearance. He said in WHOU’s decades of covering student games, the goal has always been to highlight and support the great work being done in our schools. Grant said attending and covering student games is one of the most visible ways a community can support their athletes.

“The comments the community makes about our students and our athletes, that’s how they know this is home and their community,” said Grant. “Hopefully from this event, all of our students will see the support this community has for them in difficult times, and that’s really what this is all about.”

Heather Griffin is a local clinical social worker who grew up in the County and specializes in eating disorders. Griffin said having that community support is vital.

“It’s a much bigger issue than one or two people here and there,” said Griffin. “It’s a cultural issue where people have started to believe its okay to shame others based on appearance, and it does really take a community to make that cultural shift and make it clear that that’s not acceptable behavior.”

Stanley and Grant both emphasized that student athletes all around the County should know their importance in the community.

“100% your coaches and your schools want you to be there,” said Grant. “They enjoy watching you, they enjoy cheering you on.”

Griffin said it’s important to normalize normal bodies for young people. She added that, when discussing body image, complimenting what you appreciate about a person as a whole will go much farther than negative comments.

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