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Hartselle Enquirer

Richardson playing race card

By Staff
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
Hey, Nolan … Wake up.
Quit crying. You opened your big mouth when you shouldn't and it cost you your job.
There, I needed to get that out.
Nolan Richardson, the former Arkansas basketball head coach, went to federal court Thursday and sued the university, claiming Chancellor John A. White violated his free-speech rights and discriminated against him because he is black.
Richardson asked a federal judge to return him to his old job.
Richardson was fired earlier this year, at the end of the 2001-2002 season, as coach of the Razorbacks, and, being black, he played the "race card," saying he was terminated because of skin color.
It couldn't be because his teams during the past few years have been struggling. It couldn't be because of remarks he made at post-game news conferences – no way.
It's because he's black, he claims.
Richardson claims what happened was a "high-tech lynching," and it requires "high-tech attorneys" to sort it out. University lawyer Fred H. Harrison said, "I am confident that the claims asserted by Mr. Richardson … will be shown to be groundless and without merit."
I say this race thing is ridiculous.
Nowadays, when a black coach gets fired, rumors circulate that the white man is holding down black people. In fact, when anything racially charged happens at all, it becomes a three ring circus with Jesse Jackson as the ringmaster.
As far as Richardson, he realizes now he messed up when he told reporters at a post-game news conference, "If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take my job tomorrow."
O.K., Nolan, I'll try to be fair. Let's see if you have a case:
1. You are known for your controversial statements, including telling The New York Daily News "If I was white and I did what I've done here, they'd build statues to me."
2. Sure, as a Division I head coach you hold a 509-205 record. You've won a national championship at Arkansas and your team is usually in a post-season tournament. But, as you know, coaches live in a world of "what have you done for me lately?" Your national championship in 1994 gave you a lot of gas for the future, but it finally ran out in February.
3. You claim the university showed discrimination by firing you, a black man. You might have an easier time in court with that one, except the coach who replaced you, Stan Heath, is also black.
I don't know, your lawyers may be in for the long haul with this case.
Maybe we can go with the "conspiracy theory." You know, the chancellor's last name, ironically, is White.
O.K., now I may be getting out of line, but I have no sympathy for Richardson.
Does that make me racist? Nope.
In fact, who's to say what color a coach has to be? Does it really matter? If the guy is qualified, he gets the job.