Racism? I’m shocked!

posted by Mike on March 7th, 2006

So the big story in Worcester is not that the refs at a couple South High vs. Holy Name basketball games made bizarre calls that handed the games to Holy Name.

The big story is that the South High coach, in a considered statement to the press, violated Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules by criticizing the refs and suggesting they were motivated by racism:

“It’s everywhere, but the Catholic schools are worse,” [South coach Patrick Williams] told the Telegram & Gazette in a 29-minute interview after his team’s 60-56 loss Sunday afternoon at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “You have the same officials, and they look at all black players and a black coach, and they make the calls.”
(Telegram & Gazette)

T&G subscribers can get part of the story over there. Indymedia has Scott Schaeffer-Duffy’s take:

I saw five South High games this year and noticed a definite difference when South played Holy Name and Saint John’s. In both games, South took substantial leads over their opponents only to suddenly face a disproportionate number of foul calls against them. It was like watching the all-black squad from South having to play with cement blocks on their feet to even up the competition.
[…]
If we dismiss Coach Williams’s charge without absolutely clear independent review, we tell black youth in Worcester that they will never get a fair shake in this town. Let’s not go that route.

My favorite tidbit is that Worcester Public Schools athletic director John Pepi called the refs to apologize. That’s right: no investigation has happened, but the schools have apologized to the refs.

This reminds me of Harry Whittington apologizing to Dick Cheney for getting shot.

Postscript

There was a rally to support Coach Williams, Wednesday, March 8, 6-7 pm, at Worcester City Hall.

It was fantastic. Dozens of people came forward to speak, including four members of the South High basketball team, who said they support their coach 100%. All kinds of people spoke, including many South High students, teachers, alums, and coaches. There were also teachers from other schools and other folks from around Worcester.

Hermis Yanis taped a lot of it for an hour-long show on the mighty WCCA TV-13.

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On June 22, 2006 at 13:01 Matt Brown said:

    I think the real issue is that there is no way to judge whether the calls were influenced by the race of the players involved. Who is in charge of making sure the referees get their calls right? This question needs to be answered even if Williams is just whining about losing and pulling the race card on behalf of his team (I’m not saying he is, because I don’t care; my interest is in race relations in Worcester, not basketball). If Williams is right, but has no procedural recourse besides going to the press, well, then we can hardly blame him for going to the press, can we? If the league the team belongs to offers him no recourse because the leadership ignores the possibility of race-based calls, then that’s just overlooking an obvious problem.

    While we’re on the subject of racism, let me ask an inflammatory question: Do I keep seeing Hispanic surnames on published arrest records mentioned for violent crimes because Worcester police officers are making judgements based on race? Are Hispanics in Worcester arrested for more crimes because more Worcester Hispanics(proportionately) are committing violent crimes? Both? And what is our community doing about this obvious problem among the fastest-growing minority group in Worcester?

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