The Donegal Express

The calling of the Rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I’m a free born man of the USA

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

I am the most wanted man on my island; but I'm not on my island. More's the pity.

Friday, January 21, 2005

You see that sign up there? It says the Charlotte Banshees, not the Charlotte Juuuu-wanna!

--Coach Rivers

Let's catch up on some local news. The NAACP decided to investigate the Lobo's women's basketball team, at the request of former player Fatima Maddox. Maddox got benched for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

Maddox asked to be released from her scholarship and went to the NAACP alleging discrimination.

Note, this story was published way back on the 4th. Read the article, then come back as I do a little analysis.

"In addition to our conversation with the student-athlete who left the team, we received four phone calls from members of the community concerned that a very talented and well-liked player appeared to be leaving unhappy," Powdrell said.

I know Albuquerque isn't a big city, but man word must have spread at the speed of light! "Ya know what, honey? I heard Fatima Maddox isn't happy at UNM. I think I'm gonna call the NAACP to get this all straightened out. I'm concerned that way."

"One of those calls came from an Anglo group of fans who said they did not feel comfortable coming forward themselves but were concerned about the atmosphere in the program. They said they noticed players on the team were treated differently and thought it should be investigated."

In New Mexico, it's passe to say "Honkey". The term is "Anglo". God, I hate that word! I am /not/ an "Anglo". I'm IRISH. We've been swapping lead with those people for centuries! My mother-in-law is French. I thought she was going to kill the last guy who called her an "Anglo".

Powdrell said Maddox harbors dreams of playing basketball professionally and did not think she could reach that goal by staying at New Mexico.

I think you're right, you should be playing someplace where basketball is more important than New Mexico. Let me know when you find that place, too. Fatima, to be totally serious here..let me help you out with something. If you want to play professionally in the future, you might want to rethink this "run to the NAACP after getting benched" tactic. Then again, maybe a pro team would love that. Maybe they'd give you a big hug and stuff after you get an investigation launched against them and whatnot. Good plan.

He said she was respectful of the coaching staff during her conversation with NAACP officials and did not appear to be driven by a grudge against Flanagan.

"The biggest issue to me at this point is that she said the discipline in the program was administered differently to Anglo and African-American players," Powdrell said.

Ok, so how does that one work? "Gee, they're really great coaches. Terrific people. They just treat us black players as second class citizens."

Ok then.

Powdrell was careful not to directly accuse Flanagan of racism but did note several other black players had transferred or were kicked off the team in the past.

"When we start looking into an issue, that's when we start to notice a pattern, and there does seem to be one here," he said.

Ok, so he's not a racist, he just has acted like one a bunch in the past? Thanks for clearing that up. Please, the local NAACP was looking for a trophy for over the fireplace.

Skip ahead three days later:

Powdrell said the NAACP never wanted to create an adversarial relationship with the school.

"The NAACP's efforts on behalf of Ms. Maddox were not intended to reflect negatively on the character or integrity of Coach Flanagan or the women's basketball team," the group said in the statement. "We recognize and respect Coach Flanagan's dedication to the program and his commitment to diversity."

Powdrell said the NAACP was mainly interested in helping Maddox get released from her scholarship and making sure black athletes had a positive experience at the school.

Must.....Save....Face! Mommy! HELP!

Coach Flanagan released her the day she asked to be. Nothing to see here folks. The NAACP decided to jump in on a college matter and make some quick political capital. It backfired, and they got smacked back...HARD.

I like the local sports guy, Bob Clark. He's from the Philadelphia area, just like me. On his show, he commented along the lines I did, but said that people shouldn't be too harsh on Fatima Maddox. After all, she's just nineteen. Haven't we all made mistakes at that age?

Yeah Bob, we have. However, those mistakes tend to run along the lines of, "I can't believe I drank that. Where did my underwear go?" NOT "Oops, I drug a major civil rights organization into my little fit, and almost ruined a good man's reputation." There's quite a bit of daylight between those two statements.

Bottom line, you do not screw around with Lobo's basketball in New Mexico. Not even if you're the NAACP.


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