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Tenn. state lawmaker 'acted the fool,' ejected from HS basketball game

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A top Tennessee House Republican lawmaker has apologized for losing his temper and being ejected from watching a high school basketball game after a confrontation with a referee. The dustup included what appeared to be either a feigned or failed attempt at pulling down the official’s pants, according to video footage.

On Tuesday, Rep. Jeremy Faison, 45, posted on Twitter that he “acted the fool tonight and lost my temper on a ref.”

“I was wanting him to fight me. Totally lost my junk and got booted from the gym,” Faison wrote. “I’ve never really lost my temper but I did tonight and it was completely stupid of me.

“Emotions getting in the way of rational thoughts are never good. I hope to be able to find the ref and ask for his forgiveness. I was bad wrong.”

Providence Academy, a private religious school in Johnson City, livestreamed the boys game Tuesday against Lakeway Christian Academy, a private religious school in White Pine. Faison’s son is on the Lakeway team.

The video feed shows Faison sitting in the stands before players hit the ground on a loose ball in the third quarter, spurring the referee’s whistle and a brief scuffle between the two teams.

According to the video, Faison shows up on the court talking to a referee, who appears to call a technical foul. Faison is shown pointing a finger at the referee’s face and then gestures as if he were trying to pull down the referee’s pants.

The referee’s pants stayed up and Faison subsequently walked away.

Faison, a Cosby lawmaker, has been the House Republican caucus chairman since 2019.

In his apology, Faison wrote that “for years” he has thought it is wrong for parents to lose their temper at sporting events, saying it is “not Christian and it’s not mature and it’s embarrassing to the child.” Faison did not specifically mention the pants-pulling-down gesture in his post.

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This story has been corrected to show that the school is Lakeway Christian Academy, not Lakewood Christian Academy.

Mike Osborne is the News Director for WMOT and can be heard on-air daily.