TSSAA director: There's 'no systemic racism' in the organization

Posted at 3:38 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 16:38:02-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two letters from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association indicated an investigation revealed officials didn't use a racial slur at a high school girls basketball game.

The letters revolved around a Nov. 19 game between STEM Preparatory Academy and Smyrna High School. STEM Prep claimed an official used the n-word during the game to address one of the players during a technical foul call. What resulted from that incident meant ejections of players and more technical fouls in the game.

"We watched the relevant portion of the game tape repeatedly with the volume turned up," executive director Bernard Childress said. "We did not hear the n-word, and nothing about the game tape enabled us to confirm that it was said by anyone."

Childress continues in the letter that game official denied the accusation of using the n-word and no one could corroborate the accusation.
Additionally, Childress lamented in a blistering fashion to STEM's CEO Kristen McGraner that there was no "systemic racism" within the TSSAA.

Childress explained he was 66-year-old Black man, who grew up in Maury County and went to Belmont University.

"In my lifetime, I have seen institutional racism, and have experienced it," Childress wrote. "But in my 26 years with the TSSAA, I have not observed institutional or systemic racism on the staff of TSSAA or among the numerous school administrators who have served on the TSSAA legislative council and board control. TSSAA is a small organization with just 18 full-time employees. If 'systemic racism was present within the TSSAA, I am quite sure I would know it. The people who make up the staff and leadership of TSSAA deserve better than to be publicly belittled through such accusations."

Previously in an open letter to the community, McGarner wrote she wanted to see a full investigation into the TSSAA and said it wasn't the first time of racism within the organization and wanted the official permanently suspended.