A Texas football referee has been sidelined for the 2019 season amid reports he was caught using offensive racial slurs.
Mike Atkinson was suspended by the Texas Association of Sports Officials after they heard recordings where Atkinson used the n-word, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Atkinson admits to using the racial slur.
“I thought these were private conversations between friends,” Atkinson said. “I promise you with my life, using the N-word by me is true, but I will promise you with my life, my wife’s life, my kids’ life and everything I do, (the person who taped him) also used that word.
“We were back and forth. I understand what it sounds like, but I was baited into it.”
In one of the clips, Atkinson launches into a verbal tirade about a “Chapter and Crew Mixer” hosted by the Houston Football Chapter of TASO, saying:
“I just went to the mixer the other day … a bunch of f—— n—–s wanting a free meal,” Atkinson said.
“He would find a way to n—– it up.”
“There probably was some of them … (a black official) thought he had, ’cause he wanted to be the big n—–.”
“TASO classifies the former member’s actions as unethical and unprofessional,” the statement by TASO executive director Michael Fitch read in part.
“Members who make racially insensitive remarks reflect badly on TASO and the vast majority of TASO members find those remarks repugnant. TASO has and will take disciplinary action against any member displaying any racial prejudice by words or deeds. TASO will discipline any member though they claim they made the inappropriate remarks in jest.”