NC State football announcer suspended indefinitely for ‘illegal aliens’ comment during radio broadcast

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Gary Hahn, a two-time North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year and the radio play-by-play voice of NC State football and basketball since 1991, is facing backlash from a racist comment made during Friday’s broadcast of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl held at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

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“Amongst all the illegal aliens in El Paso, it’s UCLA 14 and Pittsburgh 6,” said the veteran announcer while updating the score of Friday’s Sun Bowl in El Paso. Hahn’s quip, alluding to El Paso’s border crisis (Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency earlier this month), quickly went viral, with social media commenters criticizing the remarks as tone deaf and in poor taste.

In response, NC State’s broadcast rights-holder, Learfield Communications (formerly IMG College), issued the following statement, announcing Hahn’s indefinite suspension, effective immediately: “Learfield has suspended Wolfpack Sports Network play-by-play announcer Gary Hahn from his agreement indefinitely following comments made during today’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl radio broadcast.”

Securing the United States’ border with Mexico has long been a hot-button issue, with recent developments escalating tensions on both sides of the political spectrum. In a stunt meant to antagonize the Biden administration, Texas governor Greg Abbott bussed over 100 migrant workers to the nation’s capital last weekend, dropping them off (in 18-degree weather) at Vice President Kamala Harris’ doorstep. Years earlier, President Donald Trump began construction of a since-abandoned border wall, costing taxpayers an estimated $15 billion.

Despite entering as two-point favorites, the Wolfpack dropped a 16-12 heartbreaker to Maryland, falling to 8-5 on the season. That’s a relative disappointment after getting off to a 4-0 start, peaking at No. 10 in the AP rankings. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, whose older brother Tua starred at Alabama before joining the Dolphins as a first-round draft pick in 2020, threw the game’s only touchdown pass, a 19-yard strike to Octavian Smith in the second quarter.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images