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Comments by YACCS
Monday, September 25, 2006

Allen called blacks nigger in college


Teammates: Allen used "N-word" in college
Three members of Sen. George Allen's college football team remember a man with racist attitudes at ease using racial slurs.

By Michael Scherer

Sep. 24, 2006 | George AllenThree former college football teammates of Sen. George Allen say that the Virginia Republican repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks during the early 1970s.

"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."

A second white teammate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution from the Allen campaign, separately claimed that Allen used the word "nigger" to describe blacks. "It was so common with George when he was among his white friends. This is the terminology he used," the teammate said.

A third white teammate contacted separately, who also spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by the Virginia senator, said he too remembers Allen using the word "nigger," though he said he could not recall a specific conversation in which Allen used the term. "My impression of him was that he was a racist," the third teammate said.

Shelton also told Salon that the future senator gave him the nickname "Wizard," because he shared a last name with Robert Shelton, who served in the 1960s as the imperial wizard of the United Klans of America, a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan. The radiologist said he decided earlier this year that he would go public with his concerns about Allen if a reporter ever called. About four months ago, when he heard that Allen was a possible candidate for president in 2008, Shelton began to write down some of the negative memories of his former teammate. He provided Salon excerpts of those notes last week.

On Sunday morning, Salon spoke with David Snepp, a spokesman for Allen's Senate office, to ask for a response to the recollections of the three former teammates. E-mail and phone messages were also left for Bill Bozin, a spokesman for the Allen campaign, and Dick Wadhams, the campaign manager. Though Snepp indicated that the campaign, and probably Wadhams, would respond, eight hours later no one in the Allen camp had replied to Salon. Chris LaCivita, a consultant to the Allen campaign, hung up when a Salon reporter reached him mid-afternoon Sunday. Additional attempts to contact the campaign were unsuccessful.

The racial attitudes of Allen, a once formidable presidential contender in 2008, have become an issue in his highly contested reelection campaign against Jim Webb, a former Marine and author. Last month, Allen was videotaped calling an Indian-American college student "macaca," an obscure word for monkey that is also used as a racial epithet in some parts of the world. Allen has since apologized to the student, saying that he made up the word, and did not know its other meanings.
........................

In public statements, Allen has said that he realized later in life that the Confederate flag was a symbol of violence for black Americans, and he has expressed some regret. "There are a lot of things that I wish I had learned earlier in life," Allen said in an appearance this month on NBC's "Meet the Press." But Allen has maintained that he never harbored any discriminatory attitudes toward blacks. "Even if your heart is pure, the things you say and do and the symbols you use matter because of how others may take them," he said in the prepared transcript for remarks to a luncheon with black educators on Sept. 13.

Over the past week, Salon has interviewed 19 former teammates and college friends of Allen from the University of Virginia. In addition to the three who said Allen used the word "nigger," two others who were contacted said they remember being bothered by Allen's displaying the Confederate flag in college, but said they do not remember him acting in an overtly racist manner. Seven others said they did not know Allen well outside the football team, but do not remember Allen demonstrating any racist feelings. A separate seven teammates and friends said they knew Allen well and did not believe he held racist views. "I don't believe he was insensitive," said Paul Ryczek, who played center in Allen's year before joining the Atlanta Falcons. "He had no prejudices, biases or anything else."

..........................

The three former teammates, however, painted a very different picture of Allen when he was around his white friends. Shelton said he feels a personal responsibility to tell what he knows about Allen's past, especially now that Allen has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. "I got to know Allen a little too well," Shelton said, adding that he does not believe Allen should hold elective office. "He had prejudices that were deep-seated."

Shelton said no political animosity has driven his decision to speak out. He has switched between Democratic and independent registration in recent elections, he said, and does not consider himself politically active.

Shelton played football with Allen in the 1972 and 1973 seasons, according to the team media guides from those years. Shelton remembers Allen's attitudes about race surfacing early in their relationship. At one point, Shelton says, Allen nicknamed him "Wizard," after United Klans imperial wizard Robert Shelton. "He asked me if I was related at all," Shelton remembers. "I knew of that name, and I said absolutely not." .................. "Everyone called me 'Wizard' that knows me from those days," said Shelton. "My nickname stuck."

Shelton said he also remembers a disturbing deer hunting trip with Allen on land that was owned by the family of Billy Lanahan, a wide receiver on the team. After they had killed a deer, Shelton said he remembers Allen asking Lanahan where the local black residents lived. Shelton said Allen then drove the three of them to that neighborhood with the severed head of the deer. "He proceeded to take the doe's head and stuff it into a mailbox," Shelton said.

................................


No, Allen isn't a loathsome racist. He just appears to be deep in his marrow.

posted by Steve @ 12:19:00 AM

12:19:00 AM

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