KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Olathe North baseball coach Pete Flood didn’t deny using a racial slur in a conversation with the team’s only Black player before a game last week, but he did offer his recollection of the incident that got him fired Monday.
During a phone interview with 41 Action News Anchor Dia Wall, Flood said he used the racial slur while repeating the lyrics of a song the student-athlete was playing on a speaker connected to his phone.
Flood, who also issued a statement several hours after he was fired by the Olathe Public Schools Board of Education, said he regretted repeating the racial slur aloud in speaking with Nyle Banks, but defended his decision to confront Banks about turning off the song.
Flood said the song playing contained sexually suggestive lyrics and used the racial slur.
“As you could imagine; I was shocked and offended, and asked him to turn it off. When that didn’t immediately occur, I repeated the demand to turn off the song," Flood said in a written statement.
Flood contends the situation isn’t being portrayed accurately, but had no response when Wall asked if he understood how damaging the word is and how it impacted Banks and the rest of the team.
Banks eventually turned the song off and Flood went back to observing the pregame warmups. He coached in the game, which Olathe South won 4-3.
“In my opinion, these types of lyrics should never be played in a public venue at a school event,” Flood said in a written statement. “I deeply regret that I repeated the N-word aloud; however, I do not regret requesting that a song with such offensive and derogatory language be turned off.”
Flood declined a request for an on-camera interview, citing concerns over how anything he said might be edited, but in a written statement distributed Monday afternoon to media outlets, Flood denied ever using racial slurs in the past.
“Never, never, never have I ever used the ‘N-word’ or any other racial slur to address a student, player, or person in my entire twenty-five year career in this district nor my personal life,” Flood wrote.
Flood was fired Monday by the Olathe Public School Board of Education after an investigation into his use of a racial slur before a baseball game last Thursday against Olathe South.
Banks’ father, Tony, posted about the incident on Facebook on May 7, the morning after the game.
He wrote that his son was playing rap music as the Eagles baseball team warmed up and Flood responded by telling him “We don’t play that (racial slur) music over here.”
After learning of the incident, Olathe Public Schools placed Flood on administrative leave Friday with a recommendation to fire him and canceled a game scheduled for that night.
Tony Banks said on social media that he planned to meet with Olathe North Principal Jason Herman and get Flood removed as baseball coach, but it’s unclear if and when that meeting took place.
Flood had been a physical education teacher in addition to coaching baseball for the Eagles.
The school board voted 7-0 to fire Flood.
“This board takes this seriously and we are committed to getting it right," the board said in a statement. "The school district stands firmly against racism, discrimination and racial profiling of any kind."
He previously served as Olathe North’s head football coach for six seasons, leading the program to the 2009 Kansas Class 6A state title.