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West Virginia and National Press React to Justice’s “Bunch of Thugs” Comments

GREENBRIER CO., W.Va. (WVVA) - Gov. Jim Justice is facing a national blowback after calling a girls basketball team “a bunch of thugs.”

The name-calling came after a rivalry game between the Greenbrier East High School girls basketball team, coached by Justice, and the Woodrow Wilson High School team where a tiff between an assistant coach and fan broke out on the sidelines.

Justice attacked the opposing team calling them “a bunch of thugs” and claiming that they don’t know how to behave.

Woodrow is a much more racially diverse school than Greenbrier East. 

The comments were so egregious that even Justice’s own GOP primary opponent is calling on Justice to apologize.

Read more national news coverage about Justice’s rant:

Washington Post: West Virginia governor calls high school girls’ basketball team ‘a bunch of thugs’

The game was suspended with Greenbrier East leading by six points, and Justice later called the Wilson players “a bunch of thugs,” a remark some consider racist.

Sports Illustrated: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice Calls Girls' High School Basketball Team a 'Bunch of Thugs'

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is a volunteer coach at Greenbrier East High in Lewisburg, and has coached the Spartans' girls basketball team since 2003. But an incident on Tuesday night between Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson, led Justice to use some choice words when discussing his opponent.

Yahoo Sports: West Virginia Gov. calls girls’ basketball team ‘a bunch of thugs’ after incident, sparking backlash

When he’s not running the state, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is leading the Greenbrier East High girls basketball team — a post he’s held since 2003. 

Yet after an incident between the Spartans and rival Woodrow Wilson High School on Tuesday night, in which the game was suspended, Justice called the Wilson players “a bunch of thugs.”

Naturally, his comments have sparked an immense backlash in the days that followed.

ABC News: W.Va. governor denies racism over 'thugs' basketball comment

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday said it's absurd to accuse him of racism for calling a high school girls basketball team “thugs" after a scuffle broke out at a game.

The Week: West Virginia governor says he's not racist for calling high school basketball team 'thugs'

[...] Justice told The Beckley Register-Herald: "I hate to say it any other way, but honest to God's truth is the same thing happened over at Woodrow two different times out of the Woodrow players. They're a bunch of thugs. The whole team left the bench, the coach is in a fight, they walked off the floor, they called the game. ... They don't know how to behave, and at the end of the day, you got what you got."

New York Post: West Virginia governor calls high school girls a ‘bunch of thugs’ after heated basketball game

The governor of West Virginia is fending off a full-court press from critics for calling a high school girls basketball team a “bunch of thugs” after an ugly scuffle cut a game short. 

Huffington Post: ’Bunch Of Thugs’: W.Va. Governor Refuses To Apologize For Insult To Girls’ Basketball Team

Jim Justice, high school basketball coach and Republican governor of West Virginia, is refusing to take back the insult he slung at his team’s rivals after a Tuesday evening game, despite calls to do so from within his own party. 

The Hill: West Virginia governor pushes back on racism accusations after 'thugs' comment

West Virginia's governor has issued a statement defending his remarks describing coaches and players of an opposing basketball team as "thugs," which critics have said is a racially charged term.

Stay with WVVA for updates.

Bailey Pace

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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