Garden City Community College athletics booster Jim Howard says he has been voted out of his position as a Broncbuster Athletic Association board member for his role in a post-national anthem confrontation with a former GCCC basketball player.
Prior to the Busters’ season-opening game on Nov. 1, a red-shirt basketball player, Rasool Samir, shot baskets under the east basket while the national anthem was being played by the college band. After the anthem ended, Howard came out of his seat on the second level of the north stands and confronted Samir. The two had to be separated by a GCCC police officer, and Samir was escorted from the gymnasium. Howard returned to his seat, where he remained for the rest of the game.
Howard said in an interview with The Telegram that same night that he confronted Samir for "disrespecting the flag."
"If they’re not going to respect our flag, then they need to get off of our campus and out of Garden City," he said at the time.
According to a letter written by the college’s attorney, Randy Grisell, and obtained by The Telegram, the GCCC Police Department is investigating the incident and “a decision may subsequently be made by the appropriate prosecutor whether battery, assault or disorderly conduct charges should be filed” against Howard.
The letter was sent to the American Civil Liberties Union in response to the ACLU’s letter sent on Nov. 9 to the college seeking information surrounding the incident, because Samir, who is black and Muslim, is no longer enrolled at the college. Samir has said he was told to leave by head men's basketball coach Brady Trenkle, and the ACLU is concerned that his First Amendment rights had been violated.
Grisell’s letter — which disputes that assertion — was sent to the ACLU on Nov. 14. The college also claims that Samir chose to leave GCCC.
When reached Friday for comment, Howard, 74, said he does not believe what he did constitutes assault or battery.
“Like I told the campus police, (Samir) did not physically attack me. I did not physically attack him,” he said. “If we touched each other, that would have been it — no penalty, no foul, incidental contact.”
GCCC police directed further questions regarding the investigation back to Grisell.
Howard said he does not know if charges will be brought.
“I have no clue,” he said. “They gave me no hint, and I have no idea what they’re going to come up with.”
While discussing the letter Grisell sent to the ACLU, Howard said he had been removed from his position as a board member on the BAA, an organization that raises funds for athletic scholarships at GCCC — because of the confrontation.
Attempts to reach BAA president Jami Kilgore were unsuccessful Friday evening.
Howard said he has been member of the BAA for 15 years and has been supporting the college for more than 30 years. On Nov. 1, Howard said that if Samir was allowed to remain at the college, he would cease that support and he hoped no other booster would give any more money to the college.
On Friday, he said that statement is one he "really regrets making."
Howard was also an on-air guest on Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes show, during which he discusses his role in the confrontation. The segment can be found on The Todd Starnes Podcast at ToddStarnes.com.
Contact J. Levi Burnfin at firstname.lastname@example.org.