Coach Williams opportunity missed

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on May 24th, 2006

After his all-black basketball team was eliminated from the playoffs, South High Coach Williams accused two referees of racial or class bias. Many denounced him as a race-baiting sore loser, but a number of coaches, teachers, players, parents, and even another referee supported his allegations and demanded a full review. Many saw this as an opportunity for Worcester to grow in racial sensitivity.

Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association decided to suspend Williams for four games and require that he attend anger management classes. The Telegram & Gazette front page story on the decision noted that in 1992 the MIAA gave a milder penalty to a coach who grabbed a referee. When the coach of St. John’s grabbed a referee, spinning him around, during a game in 2004, no penalty at all was imposed.

To all those aware of racism’s deep roots in our society, Williams’s punishment represents not only a failure to consider his serious charges, but also a warning to others not to raise the issue again.

Immediately below the Williams story, the T&G featured a report that the History Channel has chosen our region to stand in for the Old South in an upcoming film. Was this a coincidence or commentary on the MIAA?

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