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Evergreen football coach apologizes for tweet alleging racism

Johnson complained about 'Deep south' treatment by refs

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published: October 8, 2014, 5:00pm

Evergreen football coach Don Johnson Jr., is apologizing for what he described as a “stupid” tweet, and the school was planning to self report a WIAA violation regarding negative comments about game officials.

Johnson, who is black, posted a tweet Saturday morning after his team’s 55-6 loss to Union on Friday night:

“Evergreen Officials Association gives black head coaches Deep down south, southern hospitality. It’s a great example for today’s youth.”

Johnson acknowledged it was his tweet and said he deleted the tweet within a few hours.

By then, though, the message had spread through social media.

“I just worded something out of frustration and had a stupid tweet,” Johnson said. “I apologize to all I offended. I worded a tweet wrong, and I apologize for my actions.”

Jim Goss, the president of the Evergreen Football Officials Association, was the referee in Friday’s Evergreen-Union game.

“The EFOA is going to accept his apology and try to move forward,” Goss said. “But we will be asking the WOA (Washington Officials Association) in assistance in this manner.”

This was not a typical complaint about officiating, Goss said.

“It’s not about questioning of our abilities. He crossed the line with questioning our integrity,” Goss said.

Evergreen is reporting a violation of rule 23.8.0 in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Handbook:

“Negative commentary/by coaches and/or officials — The WIAA prohibits negative commentary or statements to the media or general public in any form relative to officiating prior to, during, or following any … athletic event. This rule applies equally to members of the Washington Officials Association relative to coaching tactics or administrative responsibilities.”

“It’s a violation,” said Keenan Burris, the athletic director at Evergreen High School. “The league will vote on what the sanction is.”

Johnson said he hopes his players will learn from this experience.

“It’s a lesson for the kids, not being angry about a game and writing something on social media,” Johnson said.

Cale Piland, the athletic director for Evergreen Public Schools, has been in communication with Goss via e-mail and phone this week.

“Ultimately the goal is to build a healthy working relationship with all of our coaches and officials, which we have a very strong history of,” Piland said.

Johnson is in his second season as Evergreen’s coach. The Plainsmen (2-3) play a non-league game at Yelm on Friday.

Columbian High School Sports Reporter