High school basketball players suspended for racist postgame video

Two basketball players from Corbin High School in Kentucky have been suspended after a racially insensitive postgame video sparked outrage.

Corbin senior Andrew Taylor, after Friday’s victory over Knox Central, was filmed saying, “Sometimes you just gotta put the monkey back in its cage.” Many interpreted it in light of the racial makeup of Knox’s team, which features black players.

The video was posted to social media, and quickly went viral.

Taylor, who has committed to play basketball at Furman University, did not play in Corbin’s game on Saturday, and issued a lengthy apology that afternoon:

“First of all I want to sincerely apologize to each and every person that took offense to the video that surfaced last night. Recently, a video has been circulating of me in a false light and has been taken grossly out of context. With the timing of the video and the context in which my words might have been taken, I can understand why one might see the video as controversial considering the world we live in today. For that reason, I am sincerely sorry from the bottom of my heart. I apologize, especially to the Knox Central players and parents who might have taken offense as well as to their fan base. Our rivalry with Knox Central brings out the strongest emotions from players, fans, and parents. However, my intentions never have been and never will be to speak disrespectfully of another race nor is disrespect or judgement in my heart. Again, I am truly, truly sorry and did not mean for my statement to be taken that direction.”

Teammate Cam Maguet also sat out Saturday’s game amid the controversy. A statement from Corbin Independent Schools called it “an internal basketball issue that will be dealt with by the Corbin High School basketball staff.”

A Knox County Public Schools spokesman also issued a statement, saying, “There is no place in sports or society where someone should have to ‘brush off’ or ‘turn the cheek’ to racial or other derogatory remarks.” A Knox Central player reportedly said that he has had to deal with racial comments in the past.

A Knox Central teacher also told local news that she heard Corbin players using racial slurs during the game.