PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Two Aroostook County radio broadcasters who were fired after making body-shaming remarks about girls basketball players likely will keep their hall of fame statuses.
Jim Carter of Presque Isle and Steve Shaw of Mars Hill made remarks about girls basketball players’ weight and physical appearance while preparing to broadcast a game, unaware they had an open microphone. Since then, there has been an outcry of support for Easton girls basketball and schools online, as well as negative sentiments toward the announcers.
Shaw was inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020 as one of the “Legends of the Game.” He was also inducted into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors in 2007. Jim Carter was inducted into the Presque Isle High School Hall of Fame in 2012. Although there have been Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductees removed for conduct considered reprehensible, the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame has never done so.
The incident happened Thursday as Carter and Shaw were getting ready to broadcast a girls basketball contest between Fort Kent and Caribou. The microphone picked up both men commenting about the weight of some of the players in a separate girls game between Easton and Central Aroostook that the two men were watching on a monitor.
Attempts to reach the men for comment Monday were unsuccessful.
There has been no official discussion about removing Shaw from the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, executive director Tony Hamlin said Monday. The topic will come up during the executive board meeting later this week, he said.
“The general feeling is once a person is inducted for their basketball accomplishments, to then police their behavior afterward would be a pretty precarious situation,” Hamlin said.
There is no list of criteria in place to remove anyone from the hall of fame, nor has it happened in the nine-year history of the group, he said.
Founded in 2013, the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame was created to recognize, among other things, the accomplishments and contributions of individual people and teams, according to the group’s website.
Shaw’s successful coaching career earned him the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1995. His 1994 Central Aroostook team won the school’s first state championship. The Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association recognized Shaw as athletic administrator of the year in 2000. And the U.S. Senate recognized his 50 years of service as a teacher and coach in 2019.
Carter made several contributions to the Presque Isle High School athletic department over the years, and helped raise $5,000 toward funding the hall of fame. He has been compiling statistics for the Big East basketball conference for both boys and girls.
Carter taught in Caribou for 25 years prior to moving back to Presque Isle in 2005, and coached basketball at various levels there for 21 years. He was named the Big East coach of the year in 1998 and girls cross country coach of the year by the Bangor Daily News in 1989. Carter was inducted into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors in 2014, and serves as a committee member of the Presque Isle High School Hall of Fame.
Mark White,Presque Isle High School athletic director and PIHS Hall of Fame committee member, said Monday that no action has been taken on Carter’s future in that organization.
“SAD 1 and the PIHS Athletic Hall of Fame are aware of the comments made by Mr. Carter recently,” White said. “At this time, no determination has been made regarding Mr. Carter’s future with the PIHS Athletic Hall of Fame.”
The incident has led to support online from parents and spectators alike for Easton schools and students. One step-parent, Cassie Pickering of Winn, a former girls varsity coach at Lee Academy, had posted the video of the incident online, although she was asked by many to take it down. She said she kept it online to spread awareness.
“I feel like female student athletes feel judged on their appearance more than males,” Pickering said. “A female athlete is their own worst enemy in a lot of different situations. What these men did, not knowing the mic was on or not, was downright wrong. I was sick to my stomach when I watched the footage that was sent to me. These poor girls went through my head at least 100 times that night.”
She said that as a former coach, she has seen the power words can have over teens, and as sports announcers, the pair of men should have known better.
Easton schools have provided support to those who need it as well. “The school has been incredibly supportive during this time,” said Easton girls varsity basketball coach Emily Hill. “Administration has been sure to check in with those directly affected frequently, and we have assured all students that we are open to further discussion if they should need it.”
In 2014, former Jonesport-Beals High School basketball coach Ordman Alley was removed from the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and his nomination to the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame was rescinded after sexual abuse allegations were made against him by former students. He was the second inductee to be ousted from the Maine Sports Hall of Fame after former Husson University basketball great Dana Wilson was removed in 2013. Wilson, who had been inducted in 2012, was found guilty in July 2014 of possession of child pornography.
Sports writer Larry Mahoney contributed to this report.