"It just seems to me to be that way," he said. "Afro-American kids can run very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well."
Is this racist? It appears as though it should be, but is it really? Apparently someone thinks so because Fisher Deberry, the coach of the Air Force Academy, has apologized for those comments and had been reprimanded by the Air Force Academy. The media has taken this story and run with it. But was what he said really that offensive? Or was it shocking to hear someone say what many of us already think?
I know it sounds very stereotypical, but he is not saying something that most of us don’t think. Look at the NFL, black players make up 99.9% of the speed positions. Look at the gold medal winners in the 100 yard dash in the Olympics for the last 20 years. I don’t think it is offensive to say that blacks can run fast.
His only mistake was saying things like this out loud during a press conference. People are bound to get all fired up over something an old white guy said that was not meant as a derogatory statement. If this had been a black coach saying this, we probably wouldn’t have this become as big of a story as it is.
Deberry was commenting on the fact that the school they had just played, TCU, had many black players and they were faster than the Air Force squad who didn’t have as many black players. In this time of extreme political correctness you just cannot say things like this in public and not offend someone, even if what is said is not meant to be offensive.
Would things have been better if he used code words instead of saying Afro-Americans? Would the things he said been more acceptable if he said that his team needed more “speed?” Would it have been better accepted if he talked about how TCU was so much more “athletic” than Air Force and that Air Force needs to recruit more “athletic” players? Is this better than just laying out the truth? Apparently, yes.
I believe this is a case of Sivart’s media taking something and blowing it way out of proportion. I guess the World Series isn’t big enough sports news this week so they had to search for a story to blow up. (Speaking of which, Hank Aaron is making a fuss over the fact that the Houston Astros have no black players on their team.) I wonder if Good Morning America had a piece on this.