Woodrow Wilson principal calls Justice's 'thugs' comment 'inappropriate'

The principal of one of the schools at the center of a fight during a basketball game this week is speaking about the controversy, and comments made calling his school's players "thugs."
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LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The principal of one of the schools at the center of a fight during a basketball game this week is speaking about the controversy, and comments made calling his school's players "thugs."

Woodrow Wilson High School Principal Rockey Powell released a statement Saturday about the incident where during the fourth quarter of a game Tuesday against Greenbrier East, there was some sort of altercation behind the Woodrow bench.

"During a timeout taken in the fourth quarter of the game, a WWHS assistant coach approached his administrator and asked the administrator to address an opposing fan who had been using derogatory language and gestures towards him throughout the game. At no time did the assistant coach enter the stands. At no time did the assistant coach engage in a physical altercation with the opposing fan," the statement read.

In the days following the incident, five Woodrow players were suspended for two games.

"Our girls were not part of any altercation; however, the WVSSAC chose to administer discipline based on its determination that they left the bench during the timeout," Powell said.

The statement goes on to address comments made by West Virginia Governor, and Greenbrier East coach, Jim Justice. After the incident Justice was quoted saying, "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."

"The remarks show complete lack of respect for our students and coaches," said Powell. "We are proud of how our players and coaches have conducted themselves in the last few days throughout these unfortunate circumstances."

Justice apologized for his remarks Friday saying, "There is no way I would have used the word if I thought it was offensive to anybody."

To read his full statement, click here.

Powell says the team will finish their season strong as they move forward from what he calls a challenging week.