Gov. Justice releases statement after saying, “they’re a bunch of thugs”

(R) - Governor Jim Justice

UPDATE: CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Gov. Jim Justice has released a statement regarding his choice of words referring to a basketball team as “thugs”.

“My definition of a thug is clear – it means violence, bullying, and disorderly conduct. And we, as West Virginians, should have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. Anyone that would accuse me of making a racial slur is totally absurd.

“I’m extremely proud that my coaches, my team, and myself were not involved in this incident in any way, shape, form, or fashion and I’m truly saddened that the Woodrow kids had to be subjected to this behavior.

“One of the incidents that I referred to resulted in one of the Woodrow Wilson assistant coaches being cited by the State Police for obstruction of an officer.

“I am certain that the WVSSAC will deal with this in a professional and appropriate manner.”

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GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Governor Jim Justice is facing some pushback after he referred to a girls basketball team as “a bunch of thugs”.

On Tuesday night, the Greenbrier East Spartans and Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles were playing against each other in Fairlea.

During the fourth quarter, an altercation broke out between a fan and the assistant coach of Woodrow Wilson, Gene Nabors.

Woodrow Wilson Head Coach Brian Nabors, Gene’s older brother, removed his team from the floor, and Governor Jim Justice then asked for a forfeit.

Greenbrier East was leading 46-40 when the game was suspended.

Tyler Jackson, a reporter for The Register-Herald, asked Gov. Justice about the altercation and Justice said, “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.”

Brian Nabors’ told Jackson after the game, “We only came here to play basketball.”

The WVSSAC issued this statement Tuesday night: “After the officials’ report is received, the situation is reviewed, and school officials will be notified.”

Stay with WOAY News for further updates on this developing story.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com