The Texas Association of Sports Officials wasted no time suspending a high school football referee after he made racist comments, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Mike Atkinson, a high school football official for 45 years, did not deny the accusations against him, because he had no choice since there were recordings of him doing so. Atkinson used the N-word “several times” in conversations and those audio clips of his language were provided by a person who recorded their conversations, then turned over the recordings.
From the recordings:
In one of the clips, Atkinson addresses a “Chapter and Crew Mixer” hosted by the Houston Football Chapter of TASO, held at Kirby Ice House on Feb. 10.
“I just went to the mixer the other day … a bunch of f—— n—–s wanting a free meal,” Atkinson said.
The context isn’t clear in the other clips, but they include the following statements:
“He would find a way to n—– it up.”
What Atkinson had to say about it:
“I thought these were private conversations between friends,” Atkinson said. “I promise you with my life, using the N-word by me is true, but I will promise you with my life, my wife’s life, my kids’ life and everything I do, (the person who taped him) also used that word.
“We were back and forth. I understand what it sounds like, but I was baited into it.”
Not really sure how somebody can get baited into say a word they know they shouldn’t be saying.
He made the situation that much worse with his next explanation as to why he says the word.
“I’m a jokester. I like to listen to things. I watch Black Entertainment Television all the time because I think it’s hilarious. I may have picked up something … I don’t know. I don’t know.”
According to The Chronicle, Atkinson’s penalty was nowhere to being as severe as it now, and that’s only because people began to complain.
In May, TASO informed Atkinson he would receive a two-week suspension at the start of the 2019 football season and a three-week suspension at the end of the season, which would eliminate his crew from prestigious state quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games.
Atkinson said TASO told him his appeal was put on hold.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the proceedings said TASO decided to increase Atkinson’s punishment when some members complained it wasn’t harsh enough.
The Chronicle went on to add that “multiple TASO Houston chapter members,” who said that Atkinson “has long had an all white crew and rarely adds an African-American unless it is a demand or requirement for certain playoff games.”
Texas referee crews have been expanded from five-man to seven-man crews.
“A person with direct knowledge of Atkinson’s crew makeup” told The Chronicle that the change “had no effect on Mike.”
“He has had all-white crews almost every year since, except once,” the person said. “To be that white in Houston, you have to be doing it on purpose.”
This sounds like a man who deep into his racism and continues to show who he truly is. He should never be able to ref another football game again.