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Hazel Park drops PA announcer as it looks to move forward

  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)
  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)
  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)
  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)
  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)
  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)
  • North Farmington defeated Hazel Park, 73-58, in a game marred by a unruly fan behavior on Feb. 9, on the Vikings home court. The game was stopped with 1:13 remaining in regulation when a fan threw a bottle onto the court. (MIPrepZone photo by Larry McKee)

One of the focal points in last week’s controversy-filled boys varsity basketball game between North Farmington and Hazel Park high schools will no longer have a role at future Viking home games.

The team’s public address announcer had his volunteer duties stripped after he made what school officials said were comments outside of the norm.

“The comments were one-sided towards Hazel Park,” said Hazel Park superintendent Dr. Amy Kruppe. “I don’t go to a lot of high school basketball games outside of ours (at home), so I don’t tend to know what they do at other places. But I can tell you that it’s not how I like to do business. I don’t normally hear the comments that I heard were said.

Some of the comments Kruppe was informed were made by the announcer included Hazel Park playing five against eight – referring to the Vikings also playing against the three referees – as well as a comment made when recent North Farmington transfer Nate Brooks entered the game as a substitute. The announcer referenced the fact that he was “Straight from Atlanta, Georgia, checking in,” according to a report from the Detroit Free Press , which obtained a copy of the officials MHSAA report from the game.

“I would not condone those kinds of comments in announcing,” Kruppe said. “I would call those unsportsmanlike comments.”

Those comments during the game, coupled with the home team’s disdain for the way the officials were calling the game, helped escalate the home crowd’s fervor. Near the end of the third quarter, Hazel Park athletic director Dave Muylaert was ejected from the gymnasium after storming onto the court to argue with an official. On his way back off the court, he grabbed the microphone from the PA announcer’s hand and slammed it down on the PA system before walking back to his seat. Moments later he was told to leave the gym.

According to MHSAA rules, Muylaert had to sit out the Vikings’ next contest. Hazel Park beat Auburn Hills Avondale, 66-62, Tuesday night on the road. Its next game is Friday night, back at Hazel Park, against Troy.

Kruppe said the school has security at all home games, but that auxiliary police will be present at all remaining home games this season. Also, there will be no replacement for the dismissed PA announcer. Instead, a Hazel Park official will make pre-game and post-game announcements to the crowd.

“We do not want incidents to occur anymore,” Kruppe said. “We want basketball to be about basketball. That’s what I mean when I said we’re about the children, educating children and giving them a safe environment to do things in. That’s what it’s about.”

Last Updated: 2/15/2017 7:28:28 PM EST


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