Eagle Grove school and City officials receive apologies from Forest City school and radio station

The Eagle Grove basketball teams traveled to Forest City to take on the Indians on Tuesday, Nov. 28.  KIOW Radio was there to cover the event as well as broadcast on The Cube, an internet live-streaming site.  As the boys team warmed up, a controversial conversation between two of the broadcasters about players on the Eagle Grove team left them without jobs later in the week.
“They have a lot of Espanol people in Eagle Grove,” said the male reporter.
“Gee, I wonder why that is,” answered the female broadcaster.
(Both names of reporters were unable to be verified at the time of press).
Three of the ball players they referenced, by name, in the on-line video that has gone viral, are not new to the Eagle Grove School district.  
“A lot of our students and student athletes have grown up here and played (sports) for Eagle Grove since middle school,” said Eagle Grove School Superintendent Jess Toliver.
Toliver said he first found out about the incident late Tuesday evening.  He received a call from the Forest City Superintendent Darwin Lehmann after the game about comments that were aired live on The Cube (but not the radio station).  He told Toliver that he had received a call from a fan watching The Cube who said the two broadcasters had made the racial comments.  Lehmann  apologized to Toliver.
“How do we move forward from here?  How do I explain something like this to my school, the athletes, and the community,” Toliver questioned.  
Lehmann also sent a formal letter of apology, dated 11-29-17, on behalf of the school district to the Eagle Grove School District saying, in part:
“...Although the comments were not made by Forest City Community School personnel, we do not condone nor support the comments and we are very sorry for any issues that may have been caused to your students, school or the community of Eagle Grove.”
KIOW radio station also sent a letter of apology, dated 11-29-17, saying, in part:
“Dear Mr. Pedersen (boys basketball coach), Ms. Egemo (girls basketball coach), Mr. Toliver, and Basketball Teams:  On behalf of KIOW Radio, I would like to apologize for the situation that arose during a game video broadcast on the night of November 28, 2017... comments made were not only negative, they were offensive and insensitive, and do not reflect, in any way, our business beliefs or employees as a whole,” wrote Karl Wooldrige, KIOW station manager and Jim Coloff, station owner.
They reassured the school that the high school broadcast producer was fired from her position, while the play-by-play announcer was suspended, pending required diversity and sensitivity training.  However, they were later notified that the play-by-play announcer was also fired.
Toliver said he appreciated being contacted immediately by the Forest City Superintendent.
“Forest City didn’t do anything wrong, but they wanted to apologize because it happened in their school,” said Toliver.  “They were excellent to work with in dealing with this issue.”
Mayor Sandy McGrath said she received a phone call from Jim Coloff of KIOW Radio Monday morning, Dec. 4, apologizing for the incident.
“I appreciate him apologizing to the City of Eagle Grove and the students of the Eagle Grove school system.  They (KIOW) did take action and their plan is to have further training for their staff on this issue,” McGrath said.
The video that has caused so much controversy was not actually posted to social media until Sunday evening, Dec. 3.  Officials had hoped they had gotten the broadcast pulled in time and that there were no copies made, but none-the-less, one surfaced late this weekend.
While the broadcasters put the diversity of Eagle Grove under attack, Toliver said it should be quite the contrary.
“Our diversity has helped our community so much.  There are more kids in our schools and it’s helped our business community to be vibrant...we welcome Prestage into our community as their presence has helped our community and will help with further economic development that is coming,” he said.
In a statement received from Prestage, they said, “While we do not have an affiliation with any of the specific children or families mentioned, we are saddened that some people would resort to these kind of destructive comments.  The overwhelming number of people that we work with in Wright County and Eagle Grove do not express these views.   We hope that the small number of people in neighboring counties who continue to make these statements will realize by the overwhelming response to this situation that most of us simply don’t share their views.” 
Mayor Sandy McGrath said, “The content and tone of the video that was posted on social media is inappropriate...those are our neighbors and friends and part of this community that you spoke of.  As Mayor of Eagle Grove, it deeply offends me.  Racism in that manner is not acceptable in Eagle Grove.  Eagle Grove’s vision is to work together as a progressive community, and by no means is racism a part of that progress.  We fully support our school system, our youth, and our citizens.”
KIOW did not answer our interview requests before publication.