Kasey Funderburg, who resigned as University of Tennessee sports reporter and Vol Network sideline reporter, apologized for “offensive language” she used on Twitter when she was in high school.
“The comments I tweeted as a high school student were unacceptable and ignorant,” Funderburg wrote in a statement and posted on her Twitter account.
“I sincerely apologize for using offensive language and to anyone I hurt or offended with those remarks. I take full responsibility for my actions. This language is not appropriate in any context and has not been part of my vocabulary since then.”
Funderburg responded to an interview request from Knox News but did not immediately provide a comment. On Wednesday, she released a statement.
Funderburg, 26, is a UT graduate and was a full-time employee in the athletics department. She also served as an on-air personality for VFL Films and “Vol Calls,” the popular weekly call-in show for UT coaches.
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Last week, Outkick.com reported Funderburg was fired by UT after tweets surfaced showing her writing racial slurs in 2013 and 2014. She was 17 or 18 years old at the time of those posts. Funderburg graduated from Sevier County, where she was a member of the cross country, track and field and basketball teams.
UT did not provide a reason for her departure because a spokesperson said she resigned. Former Tennessee wide receiver Jayson Swain has served as sideline reporter since her departure.
“At the University of Tennessee, I worked in the athletic department and joined the University’s Diversity and Inclusion group which afforded me the opportunity to learn additional valuable lessons about the viewpoints of people from different races, cultures, and countries, as well as the strength that such diversity provides,” her statement read.
“Moving forward, I will continue my work to be a better ally so that I may promote a more inclusive society where everyone is welcome. Thank you to all the University of Tennessee teams I covered, my co-workers and fans who have supported me over the years. I remain grateful. Sincerely, Kasey.”
What led to Kasey Funderburg’s resignation
Last week, Tennessee wore “dark mode” black uniforms against Kentucky.
A Twitter account that goes by the name “Richard G. West” posted: “All fans will be asked to wear black clothes and paint their face all black as well.”
Funderburg replied with a warning to Tennessee fans and an admonishment to the account’s unidentified user.
“THIS IS A FAKE ACCOUNT and it’s disgusting that this person thinks putting out a joke like this is okay. Please don’t believe everything you read on Twitter,” she posted.
Later in the Twitter thread, she posted: “A person who thinks it’s funny to put out that Tennessee is asking fans to wear blackface is disgusting. This is where I stand.”
Other Twitter accounts then shared screen shots where it appeared racial slurs were posted from Funderburg’s account when she was a high school student. She resigned two days later.