Rival teams embattled in controversy

A firestorm of controversy is swirling following a regular season basketball game between Knox Central High School and Corbin High School on Friday night.

Accounts of alleged racial slurs during the game, as well as a video posted online following the game, show a Corbin basketball player using comments many believe to be allegedly racially-charged.

In the video, the player is shown saying “Sometimes you’ve just gotta put the monkey back in its cage.”

The player was identified as Andrew Taylor, a senior at Corbin High School and a starter for the Redbound’s boys basketball team.

A statement was released Saturday afternoon from Hannah Goins, Public Relations Coordinator with Corbin Independent Schools. The release stated “The administration of Corbin High School is aware of the video involving a Corbin basketball player which was released last night. After review, this is an internal basketball issue that will be dealt with by the Corbin High School basketball staff. The administration has every confidence that this will be handled in an appropriate manner.”

The comments have sent parents, players and fans into a frenzy, demanding action be taken against the student.

“He called my boys the ‘n word’ throughout the entire game,” said parent Melissa Turner. Turner’s sons were among those believed to be the focus of the alleged taunts. “Even while they shot free throws. If they missed he’d say dumb n***** can’t shoot.”

Taylor, who did not start in Saturday’s game against East Jessamine, released a lengthy public statement on social media Saturday through a personal Facebook account. “First of all I want to sincerely apologize to each and every person that took offense to the video that surfaced last night. Recently, a video has been circulating of me in a false light and has been taken grossly out of context. With the timing of the video and the context in which my words might have been taken, I can understand why one might see the video as controversial considering the world we live in today. For that reason, I am sincerely sorry from the bottom of my heart. I apologize, especially to the Knox Central players and parents who might have taken offense as well as to their fan base. Our rivalry with Knox Central brings out the strongest emotions from players, fans, and parents. However, my intentions never have been and never will be to speak disrespectfully of another race nor is disrespect or judgement in my heart. Again, I am truly, truly sorry and did not mean for my statement to be taken that direction.”

Requests for statements from officials with Knox County Public Schools went unanswered as of Saturday evening.

The Mountain Advocate will continue to follow this story, and provide updates as they are available.