A white baseball coach in Olathe, Kansas was fired on Monday (May 10) after using the N-word toward a Black player. Pete Flood, the head baseball coach at Olathe North High School, claims he was describing rap music when he used the racist slur and not the student-athlete.
“Never, never, never have I ever used the ‘N-word’ or any other racial slur to address a student, player, or person in my entire 25-year career in this district nor my personal life,” Flood wrote in an email to The Kansas City Star.
Flood claimed the student, who is reportedly the only Black player on the team, was playing rap music during batting practice when he made the comment. Tony Banks, the teen’s father, said the coach told his son, “We don’t play that ni**er music over here. We only play country and rock music.”
Flood disputes this but claims he was referring to the “offensive and derogatory” lyrics in the song and not the teen’s race. In his email, Flood claims he told the student, “Turn that off, we are not going to play music that says ‘[expletives] and ni**er.’ Change the song, change the artist, change the genre... I don’t care, just turn that shit off.’”
“In my opinion, these types of lyrics should never be played in a public venue at a school event,” Flood added in his email. “I deeply regret that I repeated the N-word aloud; however, I do not regret requesting that a song with such offensive and derogatory language be turned off.”
The teen’s father does not believe the coach’s account, though, and said administrators “did their own research and they came to a conclusion.” Instead, Banks told The Kansas City Star he believes Flood was trying to “derail” his son’s academic and athletic career.
“We really wanted to move beyond this. We’re not attention-seekers,” Banks told the newspaper. “But we’re not going to sit back and let him falsely destroy our son. I don’t have to sweat because the people who know [my son] know that’s not his character. That’s not how he operates.”
Flood was initially suspended for the incident, but the Olathe Public Board of Education voted unanimously to terminate him on Monday.
“The school district stands firmly against racism, discrimination and racial profiling of any kind,” Joe Beveridge, the board’s president, said. “It is in direct conflict with the value of inclusivity.”