‘Smells like natives’: Volunteer Wapato basketball coach resigns over controversial comments, posts apology video
WAPATO, Wash. — A volunteer basketball coach at Wapato High School has stepped down following controversy over a video he posted saying that the city, “smells like natives lightin’ one up.”
“I should’ve never posted the video, but more importantly, I should’ve never said those words,” former volunteer coach Nick Navarro said in an apology video.
KAPP-KVEW spoke with Wapato School District Spokesman Mike Balmelli, who said Navarro was not employed by the district, but volunteered as a coach with the basketball program.
Balmelli said since the video surfaced, Navarro has voluntarily resigned and is no longer associated with the program.
“Apparently, he felt the comments that he made were off-base and not acceptable,” Balmelli said. “Obviously, we don’t condone any type of racism or racist comments: that’s not who we are.”
In the apology video posted Sunday, Navarro says he would like to apologize to the internet, social media, anyone who’s seen the video and the Wapato community.
“But most importantly, I want to apologize to the culture that I blindly disrespected and offended,” Navarro said in the video.
Navarro calls the comments he made in the video, “a severe lapse in judgement”, “unplanned”, “immature”, “foolish”, “inconsiderate” and “a huge mistake.”
“I don’t expect anybody to forgive me; I just simply want to apologize,” Navarro said in the video. “I’m ashamed of myself, disappointed in myself and this is not me: I will be better.”
KAPP-KVEW reached out to Navarro for this story, but has not heard back from him.
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