88 year old says he is basketball “crowing” fan

The North Arkansas College basketball fan accused of being part of the alleged racial taunts at a recent Northark game hadn'’t been identified officially, but W.J. “Shorty” Ozier says he is that fan, he meant no harm and he wants the matter to come to an end.

The Harrison Daily Times reports a Parsons, Kansas, newspaper recently published a report stating Northark fans issued racial slurs toward Labette Community College basketball players, including crow calls, while Labette players were on the free throw line.

Ozier told the times he's been crow calling out there for 30 years. He’'s a long-time Northark fan.

It was alleged that those crow calls were a reference to Jim Crow laws, which were used to enforce racial segregation in the deep South beginning in the late 1800's through the civil rights movement of the mid-1960's.

Ozier says, "I didn’'t even know what a Jim Crow law was.”"

He says he and his long-time friend, the late Jimmy Ply, used the crow call as a greeting. He says he crow calls while horseback riding around the Buffalo National River and to friends passing by his house in rural Boone County.

In addition, he says he and Ply have historically made crow calls when Northark would be on a scoring run to rouse the crowd, or toward an opposing player at the free throw line.

Ozier says, “There was no racist thought to it. "There is nothing in my heart to hurt anyone.”"

The 88-year-old Ozier says he is disappointed with the response from the game in question, mostly for the college. He says he never intended for the school and team to suffer in any way.

He also says he is concerned regarding some response he’'s heard about on social media, where people are trying to organize to go to the next college home game to make crow calls in support of him. He doesn'’t want to see that happen.

He told the Daily Times, "I'’m going to ask all my friends to let this die.”"

He stressed that no one at the college has asked him to stop crow calls following the incident.

But he said the wisdom of his years has taught him a few things.

He says, “I'’m smart enough to know when something has run its course. It won’t happen again— the crow is gone.”

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