UPDATE: Greenbrier County Schools release statement after basketball incident with Woodrow Wilson

UPDATE: GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Greenbrier County Schools have released a statement regarding an incident that took place a week ago at a basketball game against Woodrow Wilson.

Timing of Official Statement for Greenbrier County Schools:

Out of respect for all agencies involved, including West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission, Raleigh County Schools, Greenbrier County Schools, and the West Virginia State Police, Greenbrier County Schools committed to the position that an official statement would be issued once all involved agencies completed their investigations, inquiry, and consequential decisions.

The Greenbrier East High School Girls Basketball Team is to be commended for their exceptional display of sportsmanship and decorum.  At no time did the East Girls Basketball Team leave their appointed bench areas during the disruption, chaos, and altercations that transpired during the fourth quarter of the game. The team displayed no involvement in the incident. 

The Greenbrier East student cheering section is to be commended as well for their exemplary display of sportsmanship and respect for maintaining their position in the bleachers and complying with all directives from school administration. 

WV State Police and B3 Security, as well as our athletic director and school administrators, acted swiftly to assuage what could have become a significant event.

Greenbrier County parents and the community play a major role in the support and success of athletics at Greenbrier East High School. The great majority of parents and community are to be commended as well for their positive support of student-athletes, regardless of school affiliation. 

Statement Regarding Head Coach Jim Justice:

The infamous statement, “In hindsight, I would have,” is an excellent teaching moment for all of us. We all learn from our errors in life. I [Superintendent Jeff Bryant] have had the privilege of observing Jim Justice coach and mentor student-athletes for over twenty years with an attitude of love.  In no conceivable manner did Coach Justice know in his heart and soul that his comments after the February 11 game would be interpreted as racially derogatory. Jim Justice has been, is now, and will continue to be a Champion of all youth. Jim Justice views all people as important and valued and a part of our human race, all youth and adults, regardless of who they are or where they live, as valued and loved. In hindsight, Coach Jim Justice has shared with me that he regrets through the raw emotions of that evening that his comments were misinterpreted and is sincerely sorry if it has caused sorrow and hurt for anyone.

Two schools and communities moving forward:

The first conversation I had Monday, February 17, was with Raleigh County Superintendent of Schools Mr. David Price, whom I hold in high esteem as a friend and educational colleague. Mr. Price assured me that he would address this incident with Woodrow Wilson Administration, Coaches, and the Raleigh County School Board Office Support Team. Mr. Price and I agree that inappropriate behavior by adults, whether in a position of leadership, such as coaching staff or as spectators, cannot be tolerated in high school athletics.  

We will work hand in hand as two respected school systems to educate and plan for a future of interscholastic athletic competition that will personify the very best in all involved.

I trust David Price, as he does me, to counter and eliminate unprofessional conduct effectively and swiftly to ensure that unprofessional and unsportsmanlike conduct is not a part of the future. Inappropriate behavior from students, fans, student-athletes, and coaches will not be tolerated. 

What matters most here are not the wins and losses, but rather the leadership that we all demonstrate as we strive to mold the character of our youth.

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Rockey Powell, Principal of Woodrow Wilson High School, releases a statement regarding basketball incident against Greenbrier East.

“As many are aware, the Woodrow Wilson High School girls’ basketball team experienced an unfortunate event at Greenbrier East High School earlier this week.  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.

During the continued timeout, the referees made the decision to call the game. In the following days, five WWHS basketball team members 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.

Immediately following the game and in the days thereafter, Woodrow Wilson High School students have been subjected to unfortunate and inappropriate remarks by the coach of the Greenbrier East High School girls’ basketball team.

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

I want to thank the students and staff of Woodrow Wilson High School, the city of Beckley, Raleigh County and the broader community and state for their support throughout this challenging week.  The WWHS girls’ basketball team will finish this season strong and continue to make all Flying Eagles proud.“

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The WVSSAC has cleared Woodrow Wilson Assistant Coach Nabors after Tuesday’s game.

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Officials say Greenbrier East will take the win over Woodrow Wilson after Tuesday’s heated game.

The score before the suspension was 46 to 40, with Greenbrier East in the lead.

Decisions concerning a future meeting in sectionals will be made next week after the seedings and brackets are announced.

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Three people were cited following an incident that happened at a girls basketball game Tuesday night.

State Police tell WOAY that a summons has been issued for: Donte Nabors for Disorderly Conduct and Obstructing an Officer, Steven Damon for Disorderly Conduct and Eugene Nabors for Obstructing.

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Five Woodrow Wilson girls basketball players have been suspended at a minimum for two games each, as a result of leaving the bench area on Tuesday.

WVSSAC has confirmed this information to WOAY News.

The Lady Flying Eagles are scheduled to host Hurricane tonight.

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Raleigh County Superintendent has released a statement following an altercation that took place between Woodrow Wilson and Greenbrier East girls basketball game.

David Price released this statement to WOAY News “We are aware of the incident that took place at the Woodrow Wilson and Greenbrier East Girls basketball game. We are conducting an investigation to ensure we have all of the facts of the incident. We are disappointed to read the statements that we have read and heard in the media. We will not make any more statements until a thorough investigation of the incident is finished.”

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UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Woodrow Wilson Assistant Coach Eugene Nabors was cited for obstructing an officer after an altercation took place at Greenbrier East during a basketball game.

The West Virginia State Police issued the following statement:

“On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the West Virginia State Police responded to an incident at Greenbrier East High School, which resulted in Mr. Eugene Nabors of Beckley, West Virginia, being cited for obstructing an officer. This investigation is on-going.”

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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 the 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.

Tyler Barker
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