The local community hit back against the radio broadcasters and let them know in no uncertain terms that their comments were out of order.
Two radio broadcasters in Maine were fired after they body-shamed players on a high school girls' basketball team. Sports commentators Jim Carter and Steve Shaw made derogatory statements and laughed about the girls' weight which was caught on a hot mic, reported Comicsands. The incident happened in Aroostook County, a sparsely populated rural area. High school sports, as in most rural areas, is popular in the community, irrespective of whether they have a kid playing the games. So, naturally, the responses to the comments made by the broadcasters were very strong and highly critical.
The pair were talking ahead of a live broadcast for WHOU radio station when they made comments about players' weights with regard to the Central Aroostook and Easton High School girls junior varsity teams. One of the broadcasters said, "Easton has two girls out here—extremely overweight. Awful!" The other broadcaster mimicked a high voice and replied, "How come you don't get uniforms that fit the girls?" They then laughed. The audio of the conversation made it online and a sentence was censored out, so there's no knowing what they said there. Carter and Shaw were watching the monitors and chatting while waiting for a game at Caribou High School to begin.
As the clip made it online, the community hit back hard on social media. Superintendent Mark Stanley told local media that the members of the community were very angry when they first heard the comments. “It’s in writing. It’s verbalized. It’s repeated. They knew the deal. It’s a colossal failure by them,” said Stanley, before adding that the community rallied around the kids and supported them. "I've received messages and my team has received messages from schools all over the state at this point." Emily Hill, the Easton High School coach lauded her students for sticking together and lifting each other up.
Fred Grant, the owner of WHOU 100.1 FM in Houlton, Maine took to Facebook to confirm the duo had been fired over the distasteful statements. "Tonight, two broadcasters made comments that were not only inappropriate, they were also blatantly wrong. Those broadcasters were terminated," wrote Grant, before stressing how close-knit the community is. "For the last 11 years, we’ve had the privilege of broadcasting students as they participate in the sports and events that they are passionate about with the people, teams and ensembles they love. We see the pride their families have for their students and the team as a whole. We collectively swell with pride when they perform their best regardless of the outcome."
Grant went on to explain that the kids who play in high school sports are incredibly resilient and that needs to be respected. "Every night students go out and give it their all, they learn, they pick themselves and each other up when things get tough. In all the events we cover, every single one of our students gets better, they learn and they grow. Every day they face the challenges of their situation, whether it be on the court, at home, or at school, but the important part is that they keep going. All of our students deserve our respect," he added.
He also pointed out what a tough time it had been for everyone on account of the pandemic, and especially for the students. "Our students are living through the most challenging times in our history. Not only are they struggling through a pandemic, they also have the challenges of living in an age of social media which many of us would say that’s even worse than the pandemic," he wrote. Fred Grant apologized for the comments made by the broadcasters. "I apologize that the broadcasters failed to see this fundamental belief and I apologize for their behavior," he wrote.
"The broadcasters still owe the girls a public apology after making a such crude and offensive comment," wrote Jo Adams on Facebook. "Let’s build up these girls who have the courage to be shown on tv and not hiding behind the camera like the broadcasters. Girls you are beautiful and talented and we support you." Another commented, "The girls singled out in that video will NEVER forget that. It will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Those girls are absolutely beautiful. Full stop. Regardless, their bodies never should have been a topic of discussion. Whether teeny tiny, beautifully curvy, or somewhere in between. The only thing those men should have been commenting on is their performance on the court."