Radio host who called for segregating basketball tournaments suspended

Radio host who called for segregating basketball tournaments suspended
Official decoder ring (Image: LU staff)

I’ve never owned a decoder ring that would help me decipher racist “code” (aka dog whistles), so I have to plead confusion when I read stories like one that ran in the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune Thursday.

The antagonist in the story is a local radio host Paul Mushaben, who broadcasts on station KCTR. On Tuesday Mushaben posted to his blog his opinion that it’s time Montana high school basketball provide separate tournaments for Indians and non-Indians.

Let me say before delving further into the story that not all segregation is equal these days. Or so I believe. When students of color at a university demand, for example, that the administration provide with a permanent no-whites-allowed space in which “to organize and do social justice work,” that’s good segregation. So is it when black students demand an affinity housing option, which assures them a dorm life free of pesky white folks.

But when a white guy (and Mushaben certainly appears white in his picture, though I’m not sure what race he self-identifies as) writes that Indian basketballers should have their own tournament, it’s bad segregation.

Paul Mushaben (Image:
Paul Mushaben (Image:

Maybe it’s why Mushaben believes Indians and non-Indians should have their own tournaments that was the flash point that led to his suspension. He wrote:

The crowd is so unruly and disrespectful of the facility that it may be time for the MHSA to proceed with an all Indian tourney.

I presume it is the Indian fan base that he finds unruly and disrespectful.

Anyway, he deleted the comment late Tuesday, but by that point it was too late. On Thursday, KCTR published this statement:

On Tuesday of this week, longtime KCTR morning show host Paul Mushaben made a post on his blog entitled “Indian Basketball.”  KCTR does not support the blog or the sentiments expressed therein.  Once management became aware of the content it was immediately removed from the station website and we have since taken action to suspend Mr. Mushaben indefinitely, pending further internal review.  The blog post in no way reflects the values or beliefs of KCTR or its employees and we sincerely apologize to our listeners, our advertisers, and the Native American community. We assure you that we are taking appropriate action to prevent this from happening in the future.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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