"The reality that our family is associated with this is heartbreaking," McKiernan said. "It breaks my Christian heart."
The Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League said Monday that they had kicked the team out of the league after people in the stands at a game Sunday took offense to the slurs. The team was not affiliated with the school district, but the students were all from Kings High School.
McKiernan called it "inexcusable."
"We've got to be better and we can. Our children, our students must learn that some things are never funny - never," McKiernan said. "They have to learn they must be accountable. They must learn that some things can never be tolerated. We must learn that we are responsible all the time in every circumstance to stand up to prejudice, bigotry, stupidity, in both what we say and how we act, regardless of our age or our position."
Kings division coordinator Charrise Middleton said Kings Rec Basketball "does not in any way support or condone the uniform infractions that occurred." Superintendent Tim Ackermann said Tuesday the district has a character development program for students and a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, but indicated there needs to be more. He said it's a learning lesson.
"Even though that's a separate organization, they are our students," Ackermann said. "We do take responsibility to continue to learn from this."
Joe Mallory, the vice president of the Cincinnati NAACP, said the organization is investigating.
McKiernan said he was sorry he hadn't done anything to stop the team from using the names and he believed "those boys didn't intentionally want to hurt anybody."
"I'm very sad, disappointed and regretful, just a terrible situation," he said. "To whatever degree, I'm responsible. I accept that responsibility and apologize on behalf of Kings to anybody who was hurt. To whatever degree I can help heal this, fix this, I will."