Rush to Judgment 

How a football coach's candid remark led to charges of racism.

Here's another example of 1) how stupid some people are and 2) how the media can turn an anthill into a Himalayan mountain.

Fisher DeBerry, the longtime football coach at the Air Force Academy, remarked after losing a game recently that they (the Academy) needed to recruit more minorities. This was in the context of discussing a game with Texas Christian University in which he also remarked at how fast the TCU players were.

Asked the next day to elaborate, DeBerry said the following: "It just seems ... that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well."

"Racist, racist, pants on fire" went the cry, and the news media treated it as if it were important.

Since when is it racist to remark on a demonstrable fact? I'm not an avid sports fan, but casual observation seems to verify the truth of his remark. We can assume that track-and-field events, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League do not impose any racial quotas, yet African Americans are prominent in those sports far beyond their proportion of the population.

Offhand, I can't think of an outstanding running back or receiver who isn't black. I'm sure there are some. I can't recall any outstanding performers in track and field who aren't African-American. Again, there might be some, but African Americans seem to dominate those sports. If you watch Southeastern Conference football, you will notice that even many of the teams in the Old South are predominantly made up of African-American athletes.

There are some physiological differences among the different races. We can dismiss them all as superficial, and certainly none of them would justify any kind of discrimination, but why is it considered a sin to even mention them? I don't know why they exist and don't care. Why are there no redheaded Chinese? Why are there so many blonds in Norway? Why do so many African-American kids seem to be able to run very, very well? Who knows and who cares? They just do.

I suppose if you gathered all of the African-American 18-year-olds and all of the Caucasian 18-year-olds and had them run in a timed race, you might discover that on the whole the differences in speed were measured in seconds. In sports, seconds can make the difference between winning and losing.

By all accounts, the Air Force Academy coach is a decent man without a racist bone in his body. Since when, by the way, is it racist for a man to say his university needs to recruit more minorities? A decent man should not be subjected to the media grinder over a perfectly innocent remark. This was a nonevent, a non-news story made into one only because of the stupidity of the reporters who thought what he was saying was racist.

Besides lawyers, we have way too many radio and TV talk-show hosts who will seize any piece of trivia to give themselves an excuse to flap their jaws. Too many of them have diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. It was apparently the host of some dumb sports show who started this flap. Political correctness, as practiced in this country, is akin to insanity, a flat-out denial of reality. It deserves zero tolerance.

I was born and reared in the Deep South, and I know what a racist is. This poor coach doesn't even come close. He is as innocent as a baby angel. As a man involved in sports all of his life, he remarked on what seems to him (and to most people, I would guess) an obvious fact. There was no malice, no put-down, no ridicule -- nothing except an observation on what he perceived as an athletic virtue among African-American kids. Even if he were wrong, it wouldn't be racist.

Perhaps the people in Colorado, which doesn't have many African Americans living there, are just too inexperienced to recognize real racism. Their racist experience seems to be confined to American Indians and Hispanics.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • Whistle-Blower’s Crime

      The current inquiry into possible Trump campaign misdeeds recalls a long-gone bit of personal history.
    • Trumpcare?

      Ideology meets reality as Republicans struggle to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
    • Enter the Prosecutor

      Like Caesar, Donald Trump should fear the Ides of March.


News Blog

Fight Over Forrest Statue Isn't Over

Fly On The Wall Blog

Remembering the "Miracle Child" Robert Raiford

Memphis Gaydar

Bathroom Bill Halted in TN Legislature

News Blog

RIP Robert Raiford

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (March 23-29)

News Blog

'Modern' Retail Center Coming to Midtown

Memphis Gaydar

TEP: Laws That Target LGBTQ Community Could Cost State Billions

News Blog

Pop-Uppers Wanted on Main Street

News Blog

A C Wharton's City Hall Portrait Unveiled


More by Charley Reese

  • The Rant

    • Sep 3, 2008
  • The Rant

    • Aug 28, 2008
  • A Giant Is Lost

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: political dissident, Nobel laureate, devout Christian.
    • Aug 21, 2008
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Pay the Band

    Why we should be supporting proposed national music initiatives in Congress.
    • Aug 10, 2015
  • Memphis’ Central Park

    The Memphis Zoo/Overton Park controversy is really about the right of Memphians to craft their environment.
    • Feb 4, 2016
  • Domestic Violence: From Awareness to Action

    Solving the problem of domestic abuse takes knowledge and commitment.
    • Oct 1, 2015
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation