A Billings, Montana, radio jockey was suspended on February 23 just days after he called for the segregation of Native American student athletes.
KTCR-AM announced the indefinite suspension of morning host Paul Mushaben and issued an apology to its audience and the Native American community, the Associated Press reported.
“On Tuesday of this week, longtime KCTR morning show host Paul Mushaben made a post on his blog entitled ‘Indian Basketball.’ KCTR does not support the blog or the sentiments expressed therein,” the station wrote in a statement. “Once management became aware of the content it was immediately removed from the station website and we have since taken action to suspend Mr. Mushaben indefinitely, pending further internal review. The blog post in no way reflects the values or beliefs of KCTR or its employees and we sincerely apologize to our listeners, our advertisers, and the Native American community. We assure you that we are taking appropriate action to prevent this from happening in the future.”
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Mushaben had written that having Native Americans teams participating in the Montana High School Association (MHSA) is “not safe anymore” and that “enough is enough and it’s the kids that suffer.”
He called the Native American athletes and fans “unruly” and “disrespectful to the facility.”
Prior to his suspension, Mushaben told the Billings Gazette “that the majority of the problems occur when Native Americans play,” The Washington Postreported.
Donna Chrisjohn, a Lakota and Diné mother of five, said Mr. Mushaben should be fired. Chrisjohn, who has a 14-year-old son who participates in sports in Denver, Colorado, said that such racism against Native Americans is “expected” in rural areas like Montana.
“What you’re seeing more than anything is fear from those that see a different group of people from what they’re used to – seeing us doing the same thing or doing better than they are,” she said.
Chrisjohn said she faced the same kind of discrimination against Native Americans when she ran track, cross country, and played basketball as a youth in Nebraska. Decades later, the fear and racism directed at Native Americans continues, she said.
Chrisjohn added that the station’s delay in suspending Mr. Mushaben sends the message that they tolerate such discrimination until pressure is put on them to respond.