Monday, May 2, 2005

"No, Larry Cochell, I don't know what you mean"

There's a radio spot that appears on 1300 AM The Zone (a local sports station in Austin), a PSA from from the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, where a black guy is giving a speech at a shareholders meeting or some such. Anyway, while he's giving the speech, we overhear 2 white guys talking:

One white guy says to the other, "You know, for a black guy, he's really articulate, you know what I mean?"

The other white guy says, "Umm, no, I don't know what you mean."

Point being, sometimes you have show you disagree with a stereotype.

And as college baseball found out this weekend, those stereotypes still exist, 40 years after the last Voting Rights Act was passed.

Larry Cochell, the manager of the OU baseball team, made the following remarks about Joe Dunigan III, an African-American player for the Sooners.

“There are honkies and white people and there are n——— and black people. Dunigan is a good black kid ... There’s no n——- in him.”

Cochell resigned as manager of the Sooner baseball team.

Yes, I know
Dunigan and his dad have forgiven Larry Cochell. That's a credit to both of them, but it doesn't excuse Cochell.

Yes, I know it's a university environment and universities can be hyper-sensitive. That doesn't excuse the coach either.

Yes, I know the "n-word" is not considered bad in some contexts. That wasn't one of those contexts.

There's more to it than the "n-word", it's the attitude behind it. Cochell's attitude was that Dunigan was a "good black kid" instead of a good kid, as if black people aren't inherently good, or less is expected of them because of their race.

Cochell is the one who resigned, but if you read between the lines of some of Joe Castiglione and David Boren's statements, it's likely he would have been fired anyway. As OU President David Boren noted, "A good and caring man has made a terrible mistake for which he must assume responsibility."

Because sometimes you gotta say, "No I don't know what you mean." Especially at a time when people are concerned about the number of African-Americans partcipating in the game of baseball at all levels.

Later today on Spur of the Moment: Game 4 preview
Tomorrow: I will get back to the Mavs-Rockets series, really.
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