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One of the longest-tenured referees in Texas high school football has been suspended for the upcoming season for making racist comments. 

Mike Atkinson, a high school football official for 45 years, used the N-word numerous times in a series of recorded phone conversations over the past year. Audio clips of those conversations surfaced as part of a disciplinary dispute another official had with the Texas Association of Sports Officials. 

“They’re putting all this out there that I’m a big-time racist and all this,” . “For the people that know me, they know that’s not true.”

Atkinson admitted using the N-word, but said the person who recorded the conversations did as well. 

“We were back and forth.

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