An inadvertent spelling error may have cost NBA broadcaster John Focke his job. The NBA's Charlotte Hornets announced that they have suspended Focke, their play-by-play announcer, indefinitely for a tweet he sent Monday afternoon while watching a playoff game.
Sitting at his computer working on a podcast, Focke was also watching the Utah Jazz/Denver Nuggets overtime playoff game. After a flurry of impressive shots by both teams, Focke grabbed his phone intending to tweet:
"Shot making in this Jazz-Nuggets game is awesome! Murray and Mitchell going back and forth what a game!"
Instead of "Nuggets," however, Focke accidentally typed the n-word. Upon realizing the error, Focke deleted it immediately and later posted this apology:
In an interview, Focke has said that even though he understands he may be terminated, he does want people to understand what happened.
"I was trying to get it done as fast as I could so that it was relevant by the time I posted it," Focke said. "I tried to type it and obviously I mistyped the word ‘Nuggets.' And I did not reread it — which, as you know, that's rule No. 1 of working in the media. And unfortunately, I didn't, because I was trying to get it up as fast as possible. And I hit ‘Send.'"
ESPN's Mark Jones said that the most plausible explanation was that Focke uses the word regularly and that his auto-correct function kicked in.
Focke said it was not predictive text or auto-correct that were the issue. He says that it was a combination of hurriedly striking the wrong letters and hitting send without proofreading.
The Hornets have not commented on the matter publicly.