Published December 28, 2019
WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer are demanding accountability for a racially-charged social media post by Hobbs News-Sun’s sports editor Jason Farmer, who described the outcome of a high school basketball game on Twitter by stating that the Hobbs High School Eagles “scalps” the Shiprock Chieftains.
“Native American people continue to fight discrimination and racism to this day, and the comment from Mr. Farmer only adds to the lack of respect for our Navajo people. We need to reject discrimination and respect diversity throughout our country. We cannot allow statements such as Farmer’s to be normalized,” said President Nez.
The two teams played in the Hobbs Holiday Tournament in Hobbs, N.M. on Thursday, where the Hobbs High School Eagles defeated the Shiprock Chieftains. Following the game, Farmer posted the discriminatory Twitter comment and later defended it as “not racist” and further stated, “It’s having fun with team mascot names.”
On Friday, Farmer issued an apology to the teams, residents, and community of Shiprock via Twitter and acknowledged that his comments were “very inappropriate and insensitive to the Native American community.”
“In a sport where we encourage student athletes to show sportsmanship and respect for one another, it’s very troubling that we have a journalist, who is trusted to report news with integrity and trust, making very disrespectful remarks directed at our young Diné people. Hobbs News-Sun needs to address this matter immediately,” stated Vice President Lizer.
President Nez and Vice President Lizer said they will continue to encourage all Navajo students to remain respectful of other teams and student athletes, and to have respect for diversity and to embrace love and compassion for others.
“Our Navajo teams often play in non-Navajo communities and this draws large crowds of our Diné people, creating revenue for non-Navajo communities. Perhaps it’s time for our Navajo teams to establish our own league,” said President Nez. We are proud of our Diné student athletes. They perform at the highest levels on the court and in the classroom. Every year, we have more and more of our student athletes who move on to colleges and universities where they continue to excel. We will continue to stand by our Diné athletes and we will continue to promote respect for diversity and compassion for all.”