Posted Oct. 26, 2005 – Air Force football Coach Fisher DeBerry Wednesday fired the shot that's been ricocheting throughout newsrooms and college campuses nationwide.
In a news conference comment, reminiscent of Jimmy "The Greek's" ill-timed offering 17 years ago, DeBerry lamented the Air Force Academy's inability to recruit Black players, who can "run very, very fast."
Suggesting why he's suffering his first consecutive losing seasons in his 22-year coaching history, DeBerry told reporters that his staff needed to do a better job of recruiting more Black players.
"You don't see many minority athletes in our program," DeBerry said Wednesday.
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When asked to clarify his remarks, DeBerry told KWGN-TV in Denver:
"It was very obvious to me the other day that the other team had a lot more Afro-American players than we did, and they ran a lot faster than we did. It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well."
Academy officials released a statement saying they were aware of the remarks and are investigating.
"We cannot comment further until we have a chance to review all the reports, the coach's actual statements and to speak with the coach personally," Academy spokesman Lt. Col Laurent Fox said.
In 1988, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder was forced to resign from his position as a CBS sports commentator for saying that Black athletes were better because of genetics. "The slave owner would breed this big Black with this big Black woman so he could have a big Black kid ....That's where it all started," he said.
Some argue that DeBerry's comments also suggest that Blacks are predisposed to excel in sports, ignoring our ability to do well in other areas.
What do you say? Should Coach DeBerry be censured for his comments, or was he only stating the truth?