Sunday, October 30, 2005

What is inappropriate about the truth?

A curious controversy cropped up last week in sporting circles when Fisher DeBerry, the coach of Air Force Academy, blamed the lack of African-American athletes in his program for his team's inferior speed. To quote DeBerry:
It just seems to be that way. African-American kids can run very well. That doesn't mean Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well.
News organizations immediately picked up on the remarks and deemed it newsworthy enough to make it a national headline like this one here. The reports were all careful to not criticize DeBerry directly but the very fact of the story being newsworthy spoke volumes about what they thought. And then, rather predictably, the official reprimand came through, with athletic director Hans Mueh denouncing DeBerry's remarks as "seriously, seriously inappropriate".

Mueh didn't care to elaborate on exactly why the remarks were inappropriate nor who exactly found the comments offensive. Were African-Americans insulted at being praised for their superior athletic prowess, or were white Americans upset at being called less athletic?

Did it matter that the allegedly controversial statements made by DeBerry are actually true and plain obvious to anyone who has watched American sports? Did it matter that barely anyone in the country can name a Caucasian wide receiver in the NFL? Did it matter that no one remembers the last time a white American ran a sprint at the Olympics? Dit it matter that "White men can't jump" is a cliche?

Or did it only matter that the Air Force doesn't like being portrayed as being unfriendly to the minorities?


Blogger NamelessNerd said...

Makes a lotta sense. By not recruiting enough african american kids in the program in the first place, I guess people can rant Air Force has some implied discrimination and not be quite off the mark either. A shallow look at baseball (Latin Americans) basketball and football(African Americans) displays the lack of athletic prowess of some people. I hope I wasnt racially insensitive either...

10/31/2005 12:30 PM  

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