VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) – A video that’s surfacing online has caused controversy in Lowndes County.
In the video, you can’t see anything, but you hear who the students refer to as Lowndes High Girl’s Basketball Coach Antonia Tookes getting into a verbal altercation with a player on her team.
The audio was reportedly taken while Tookes was talking with a player about an incident involving her mother. Now the school is investigating the recording and the incident that led up to it. Here’s a transcription of part of the conversation:
Coach: “I’m grown, I can do what I want to do. I don’t like her, she don’t like me. I don’t like your stepdaddy, he don’t like me.”
Player: “But coach, what does that have to do with the game? Coach Tookes you just called my mama a crazy a** mama. Would you not have a problem with that? You called my mama crazy — would you not have a problem with that?”
Coach: “Well wasn’t she acting crazy?”
Player: “You’re supposed to coach the game. Why are you—”
Coach: “Well at the end of the day, it was a heated conversation and it came out.”
After speaking with the mother of this player, she said, “It breaks my heart to see my child suffer under the guidance of someone who should be fostering her love for the sport. No child should ever have to endure such mistreatment.”
After the video surfaced, a previous assistant coach of the girl’s basketball team, who says she quit due to the coach’s behavior, shared her experiences with WALB about Tookes.
“I was not a fan of her conversations that she would have with me and other coaches. Somewhat pertaining to the children. I have my own child, so I wouldn’t want anyone sitting around talking about my child,” Akasha Williams, a former LHS 9th grade coach, said.
Several people quickly commented after the audio surfaced, stating their opinions of the audio and the coach. Including one that reads “It really saddens me to see many ladies that have gone to Lowndes and played under this coach, turn away from the game they once loved so much.”
“I was shocked, I was devastated, however— I was not surprised,” Williams said.
Lowndes County Schools issued a statement about the audio saying, “The incident, as well as the video… is being investigated. Lowndes County Schools holds our staff, as well as our coaches, to a high standard. It is important that we treat our students with dignity and respect. Anything otherwise will not be tolerated.”
WALB reached out to the school system to learn if Tookes is still employed, but they would only say they have taken appropriate action to ensure the basketball season can continue, but they will not comment on personnel matters.
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