Charlotte Hornets radio play by play broadcaster John Focke has been indefinitely suspended by the team after a tweet on Monday about the Denver Nuggets that did not include the word “Nuggets,” but instead a similarly spelled, very different word.
Here’s a screencap of his tweet, via Reddit.
That is….well, not good. I’m not going to speculate on Focke’s intent, but typo or not, that just isn’t acceptable.
The Hornets, one of the teams not invited into the NBA’s Orlando bubble, quickly issued a statement, indefinitely suspending Focke, via the Charlotte Observer.
“The Charlotte Hornets are aware of the recent social media post by radio broadcaster John Focke. As an organization, we do not condone this type of language,” the Hornets’ statement said via Twitter.
“John has been suspended indefinitely as we investigate the matter more closely.”
Focke apologized (to those he offended) on Monday night.
— John Focke (@JWFOCKE) August 18, 2020
This past season was Focke’s first year with the Hornets following a run in Minnesota with the Timberwolves and Lynx.
I’m not going to judge Focke’s intentions or dive into the nuances of autocorrect, but he should have caught the typo and corrected it. The fact that he didn’t, regardless of intent, really left the Hornets with no choice but to do something, and an indefinite suspension (regardless of the fact that he won’t be calling Hornets games for awhile anyway) seems right before they make a more definitive decision.
Update: Focke spoke to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer Tuesday and explained his side of the story:
Focke was using an iPhone to send this tweet. Look down at your own screen. The “u” is next to the “i.” The “t” is next to the “r.” The other five letters of those two words are the same.
That doesn’t excuse Focke’s mistake. Far from it. Focke screwed up badly and knows it. Beyond his suspension, the Hornets wouldn’t comment. He understands he deserves that, and that more may be coming. But Focke does want to explain himself.
“I was trying to get it done as fast as I could,” Focke said of the tweet in our Tuesday interview, “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. And I hit ‘Send.’”
…“I’m gutted,” Focke said. “I just feel terrible.”