NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)- In a letter to the TSSAA, STEM Preparatory High School calls on the sports organization to permanently suspend a basketball referee after players claim a racial slur was said during a call.

The alleged incident happened Wednesday night during the STEM Prep versus Smyrna High School woman’s basketball game.

“I was sitting there. Did I hear exactly him saying what was said to her? No, but I know for sure it was not between two students. It was him and it was her,” explained Amanda Jamerson, who was in attendance.

Video of the game has now become a point of controversy. During the game, Jamerson explains from the beginning there were tense moments of “disrespect” and “unnecessary” behavior. Jamerson said it started when a player from Smyrna High School shoved one of STEM Prep’s players, and when the STEM Prep player pushed back That’s when officials called a technical foul. The call caused both the player to “exchange words” with the referee, according to statements provided by the TSSAA.

In a public Facebook post, STEM Prep posted a letter to the TSSAA, stating “this incredible offensive, raciest event underscores the institutional racism that exists within athletics,” and is urging for a “permanent suspension of this official.”

“The same drama that’s in the streets, that we work so hard to keep our children out of, and away from, is happening in the school system. That is crazy,” said Jamerson. “Oh, he definitely needs to be fired. The ref definitely needs to be fired.’

In a letter to the TSSAA from Billy Harris, Assistant Principal and Co-Athletic Director at Smyrna High School, he explains what he witnessed and heard from other administrators. In the letter, he says a fan started to “verbally harass{ing} the referee, alleging that her granddaughter claimed that one of the referees used the ‘N-Word’ towards her granddaughter.” Harris went on to say the principal was sitting right behind the fans, and says, “this never happened.”

TSSAA told News 2 in talking with administrators and witnesses from both teams there have been conflicting stories. Some stated the incident happened between two players. Some said the incident happened between a player and the official, and some said it didn’t happen at all.

“We were not overly aggressive. We just wanted answers, but their goal was to get y’all out the building, not to protect the students on either team, but STEM Prep was definitely not protected,” explained Jamerson.

The full statement from STEM Prep to TSSAA can be found below:

On the evening of November 17, 2021, an official referee for the TSSAA STEM Prep vs. Smyrna High School women’s basketball team used a racial slur against a STEM Prep player. As clearly seen on the game tape, and as shared by witness accounts, the white male referee approached the 14-year-old black female player in an aggressive manner and called her the N-word. This incredibly offensive, racist event underscores the institutional racism that exists within athletics, as well as within the TSSAA organization.

At 8:20 a.m. this morning, TSSAA chose to issue three letters (attached) of reprimand, financial and participation penalty against the players, and a parent who were dehumanized by the official’s action. STEM Prep subsequently called the TSSAA office and Assistant Director Gene Menees directly to discuss this matter. No call has been returned. We demand that swift and decisive action be taken.

According to the Regulations Governing Officials Registered with TSSAA, “The Executive Director shall have authority to suspend registration of an official who is guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct or unethical conduct.” As the Executive Director, we call on you to exercise this clause immediately by instituting a permanent suspension of this official.

Furthermore, as this is not the first incident of systemic racism within TSSAA, we call for a review of official screening and hiring practices, the code of conduct governing the behavior of all employees and contracted officials, and sustained Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training.