The Charlotte Hornets have fired John Focke after writing a racial slur in a tweet in August. Focke, the team's radio broadcaster, said he accidentally typed the N-word when tweeting about the Utah Jazz-Denver Nuggets game. He told the Charlotte Observer he meant to type "Nuggets" when posting the tweet quickly on his iPhone.
"The Charlotte Hornets announced today that John Focke will not return as the team's radio broadcaster due to a violation of the organization's social media policy," the team said in a statement. "Since this is a personnel matter, the organization will not comment any further. The Hornets thank John for all his efforts during the 2019-20 NBA season."
In the tweet, Focke wrote: "Shot making in this Jazz-N—s game is awesome! Murray and Mitchell going back and forth what a game!" When Focke published the tweet, there were several reactions. When the Hornets first saw the tweet, they suspended Focke.
"The Hornets are aware of the social media post by radio broadcaster John Focke. As an organization, we do not condone this type of language," the statement read. Focke did apologize for the tweet after calling his bosses at the Hornets. However, it was noted the apology came six hours after the tweet.
"Earlier today, I made a horrific error while attempting to tweet about the Denver-Utah game," Focke wrote. "I don't know how I mistyped, I had (and have) no intention of ever using that word. I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been sick to my stomach about it ever since. I'm truly sorry that this happened and I apologize to those I offended."
When talking to the Charlotte Observer, Focke said he was trying to get the tweet "done as fast as I could so that it was relevant by the time I posted it. I tried to type it and obviously I mistyped the word 'Nuggets.' And I did not reread it — which, as you know, that's rule No. 1 of working in the media. And unfortunately, I didn't, because I was trying to get it up as fast as possible." Focke spent only one season with the Hornets after spending time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. He was named Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association in 2017.