GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville is a flat-out racist. We knew this. Been knowing it. Saying that isn’t even controversial anymore. It’s like saying the Earth is round. And the thing is, Tuberville keeps proving just how much of a racist he is. Over and over again.
At a recent Donald Trump rally in a rural part of Nevada, Tuberville said the Democratic Party is “pro-crime, they want crime.” He added: “They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have.”
“They want reparations,” he said, screaming, “because they think the people who do the crime are owed that! Bullsh–! They are not owed that.”
Let’s be clear what Tuberville is saying. Reparations are commonly associated with Black people being compensated for centuries of slavery. He is equating reparations with crimes. He is, in effect, calling Black people criminals. Not individual Black people. All Black people.
“Senator Tuberville’s comments are flat out racist, ignorant and utterly sickening,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement on Monday. “His words promote a centuries-old lie about Black people that throughout history has resulted in the most dangerous policies and violent attacks on our community.”
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There was an exchange on CNN after Tuberville’s outburst that perfectly encapsulated how deliciously antebellum Tuberville’s comments were. It was started by CNN’s Abby Phillip:
“I mean, just straight-up racism from a sitting United States senator,” she said. “But really talking to white voters about their own preconceived notions of Black people being responsible for crime and not deserving anything as a result.”
So, yes, Tuberville is a flat-out racist. We knew this. Been knowing it. Saying that isn’t even controversial anymore. But there’s an even bigger story here.
Tuberville spent decades as a college coach, both at the University of Mississippi and Auburn. How many college football coaches like Tuberville? How many do what he apparently did: make millions off the labor of Black athletes while apparently hiding their disdain for those same Black people?
Did Tuberville see Black players as different from those other Blacks out there, living all Blackish and whatnot, with our repairs and basketball and fried chicken/watermelon spice grape juice? All that while we’re also committing massive amounts of crime. We are indeed a talented people.
It’s a neat trick to pull off. Walk into the homes of Black parents, recruit their sons to play for you, all while hating Black people.
It’s unfair and inaccurate to say all white college football coaches feel the way Tuberville does. But if you think it’s just a small amount of college coaches, you’re a fool. You haven’t been paying attention.
Last year UT-Chattanooga fired an assistant coach for a horribly racist tweet about Stacey Abrams, who is now running for governor of Georgia. Former TCU football coach Gary Patterson used the N-word with his players. He is now an assistant coach at the University of Texas.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has had numerous issues with race. University of Iowa football players sued the school for racial discrimination. There was the resignation of Cale Gundy. There was the embarrassingly tone-deaf use of a Trayvon Martin photo by Ohio State to enforce the team’s rule prohibiting the use of hooded sweatshirts.
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There are many other examples.
There are plenty of good leaders in college football, but it’s clear there are others who probably didn’t see any issues with Tuberville’s racism.
Every college football beat writer should ask every coach they cover to comment on Tuberville’s remarks, since he’s still a significant name in the sport. Every college football coach should condemn what Tuberville said.
Each one of us should note that Tuberville was cheered on by the crowd around him as he spoke.
It’s important to shun Tuberville because his words aren’t just disgraceful. They are immensely dangerous.
“His comments are about the most vicious, vile, repugnant, parochial, racist things that I’ve heard in a long, long time,” Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who is also the former head of the NAACP, told MSNBC. “This is how violence gets started against Black people, as in the case in Buffalo.”
He added: “Because people take (what Tuberville said), the sick ones, and they figure they’ve got to do something to extend the senator’s philosophy. I would hope that every elected official on both sides of the aisle condemn that. He is a bigot, and until he says something different, he will always be seen as a bigot.”
So, yes, Tuberville is a flat-out racist. We knew this. Been knowing it. Saying that isn’t even controversial anymore. But the question, the most important question, is this:
How many more like Tuberville are out there? Hiding their true feelings? Coaching Black players and walking into Black homes to recruit sons? All while holding white nationalist views?