Philadelphia Wings announcer loses job after talk about Native American player

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A public address announcer has lost his job over a remark about a Native American player during a lacrosse game that he and the Philadelphia team called "insensitive."

The Philadelphia Wings said announcer Shawny Hill had been "permanently removed" from his role with the team and suspended from assignments at the Wells Fargo Center.

Georgia Swarm forward Lyle Thompson, of the Onondaga Reservation in central New York, said Hill said "Let's snip the pony tail" during Saturday night's game and fans then began to shout calls to "scalp" him. Hill said his words weren't "racially motivated" but reflected a lack of knowledge of heritage and history.

After the game, Thompson tweeted, "I know Philly takes pride in their ruthless fans but I didn't know it was like that lol.... now I know.. just haven't heard stuff like this since HS."

The National Lacrosse League said on Monday, "The League and all of our member clubs have a zero tolerance policy for any derogatory or discriminatory statement made. The statements by the Wings in arena host were inappropriate and the necessary disciplinary action will be taken swiftly."

Hill, who also works with the Flyers, issued an apology on Twitter:

"I am deeply sorry for my insensitive statements during last night's game. My words were poorly chosen and were not intended as racially motivated. I understand the profound hurt my words have caused. I offer my sincere apology. My words do not reflect my personal beliefs, but represent a lack of knowledge on heritage and history. I am in the process of reaching out to speak directly to the Thompson brothers in hopes of providing a direct apology."

The Wings released the following statement Monday afternoon:

"Shawny Hill has been permanently removed from his role with the Philadelphia Wings and has been suspended from all in-arena announcing assignments at the Wells Fargo Center. In addition, the Wings are working closely with the National Lacrosse League to implement ongoing diversity training for all employees which will include a focus on Native North American roots and traditions of the sport. The Wings remain deeply apologetic for the offensive comments that overshadowed Saturday night's game and are fully committed to furthering a culture of respect."

The Georgia Swarm also released a statement:

"We stand behind all of our players, and in this particular instance, we stand in unity with Lyle, the entire Thompson family and all of our Native players who were negatively impacted by the derogatory comment that was made Saturday night in Philadelphia. The comment that was made will not be tolerated and does not reflect the core values of our league or the great sport of lacrosse.

The Swarm is proud to have seven Native athletes on our roster. Lacrosse is a Native sport, and is built on strong values and sportsmanship. The Swarm is proud to host our long-standing Native Heritage Night every season to honor the sport, and to help educate our fanbase on the history and tradition of the game.

We are working closely with the NLL, the Wings and all of our Native players to help implement additional educational programs in an effort to help prevent a situation like this from ever arising again."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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