HOULTON, Maine — Two longtime basketball broadcasters in Aroostook County were fired from radio station WHOU after making disparaging remarks Thursday on-air about some of the student players.
Jim Carter and Steve Shaw were getting ready to broadcast a high school girls basketball game when they made inappropriate comments about basketball players on a different girls game also being broadcast online. The comments had to do with the players’ appearance.
Carter and Shaw have broadcast high school basketball games in Aroostook County for decades at various radio stations. Carter is a member of the Presque Isle Hall of Fame and Maine Sports Legends. Shaw is also a retired athletic director for Easton, is a former standout coach at both Easton and Central Aroostook and was inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the “Legends of the Game” in 2021.
The comments were made during the waning minutes of a junior varsity girls contest between Caribou and Fort Kent, with the broadcasters unaware their microphone was on. The comments spread rapidly on social media Thursday evening, but the game has since been taken down by the radio station.
“Our mission has been to highlight the best of our communities, our schools, the programs we love and most importantly our students,” wrote Fred Grant, owner of WHOU/Northern Maine Media. “Tonight, two broadcasters made comments that were not only inappropriate, they were also blatantly wrong. Those broadcasters were terminated.”
Grant added, for the past 11 years, his station has had the privilege of broadcasting students in sporting events and extracurricular activities such as musical competitions.
“Every night students go out and give it their all, they learn, they pick themselves and each other up when things get tough,” he said. “We might be disappointed when they lose, but we’re inspired by their resilience when they come back to give it another shot. That’s what is important and that’s what we embrace.
In his post, Grant asked people to refrain from circulating any video clips, and if they have, to take them down, and instead asked that they shift the focus back to something more positive – like helping students move on to the important work and events in their lives.
“I apologize that the broadcasters failed to see this fundamental belief and I apologize for their behavior. I know they are remorseful and I believe they, too, will continue to learn from their mistakes,” he said.