Air Force Coach Fisher Deberry is now under fire for racially-charged comments that suggest blacks are "programmed for speed." Deberry was lamenting his program's poor record this season. In a quantum leap of logic, he says Air Force would have beat No. 20 Texas Christian University if they only had more black players.
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. I just want to recruit speed. We need to find speed as much as anything. The black athlete seems to have, statistically, programmed, programmed, programmed an edge as far as speed is concerned.
The statements are most disheartening because they reinforce the common perception that blacks are very good at physical tasks—lifting, running, boxing, activities that require strength and/or speed—but not capable of more advanced intellectual capacity. Such as, black players are great receivers, but do not make good quarterbacks. Even more disappointing is that Deberry can make comments like this and still keep his job. Deberry is the winningest coach in academy history with a record of 161-94-1. He has had 17 winning seasons and won 12 bowl games. But he's not racking up that many wins this year; the Falcons have struggled to a 3-5 overall record and 2-4 conference mark. Maybe that recent losing streak has encouraged the Air Force Academy to "investigate" Deberry's comments, but not much else is being done. Critics say show him the
money door. ESPN: "This is looking like an excellent time for Fisher Deberry to retire"
BTW, Coach Deberry is a "devout born-again Christian." Last November, he was forced to remove a banner in the team's locker room that read in part, "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." Deberry's comments are eerily similar to Jimmy the Greek, who was fired by CBS in 1988 for saying, among other things, that blacks were "bred" to be big, black and strong.
On a related note ... Scott Poulson-Bryant's new book Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America debuted yesterday. He examines and deconstructs the mythology of the big black man. Our review should run later tonight.