TABIONA, Utah (ABC4 News) – The head coach of Tabiona High School says the town has been tainted by allegations of racial slurs.
“The people in Tabiona are good people. They’re not racist,” said Lee Gines, Head Coach of the Boys’ Basketball team at Tabiona.
For the first time, ABC4 News is speaking with Gines since Tabiona fans have been accused of racism and unsportsmanlike conduct.
“There was no racial taunts in this gym,” explained Gines.
There are two high schools that beg to differ. Manila High School and Intermountain Christian School both say Tabiona fans shouted racial slurs during games at Tabiona.
Intermountain Christian says some of the racial comments were also directed to their Head Coach, Tim Drisdom.
A man is accused of shouting “Blackie go home! Go home blackie!” and then asking, “Well he is an N-word isn’t he?”
Coach Gines admits that was said to Drisdom.
“A person made a mistake. How do we move past that?” Gines asked. “We kind of brush by the death threat and go to the racism thing,” he added.
Lee Gines claims when both teams shook hands after a game in January, one of his players was threatened by ICS’ Coach Drisdom.
“My player said he said ‘boy if you ever do that again you will lose your life.’ And I didn’t hear it. I’m not saying I heard it.”
Under sworn testimony, Drisdom addressed the allegations during a hearing in front of the Utah High School Athletic Association’s Executive Committee.
“I’ve never threatened to kill anybody in my entire life.”
“I just told him – you know – you don’t disrespect another adult like that. You’re not about that life. And then when he yanked his hand, I yelled it again.”
Gines also says he was threatened in the hallway during halftime of one of the games.
“They came charging at us. Me and Mr. Wagner.”
The video also appears to show Gines heading down the hallway and also being held back.
All of these incidents happened before Tabiona went on to win the state championship, but Gines still feels that winning state is one of the reasons Manila and ICS are making these claims of racism and unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I think that’s part of it. I think there’s some sour grapes there,” Gines said.
Since the incidents happened, Tabiona has initiated a fan code of conduct policy.