Dave Logan has a lot of irons in the fire. And yesterday, two of them -- his position as football coach at Mullen High School and his gig as co-host of the KOA afternoon-drive show The Ride Home -- combined to burn him.
In recent days, controversy has erupted over a basketball game between Mullen and Overland High School, during which Mullen students reportedly chanted several slurs at Overland players: "Buckwheat," "shrimp boat" and "marshmallow." Logan wasn't at the game, but as a well-known representative of Mullen, he was in a position where he had to comment on the situation during his show, and the manner in which he did so likely made him seem like an apologist in the eyes of anyone offended by the incident. Although he acknowledged that "Buckwheat" has racist connotations for anyone "over the age of 35," he suggested that Mullen teens may have seen it as a comparatively benign remark about someone's hairstyle -- and he said he'd never heard of "marshmallow" and "shrimp boat" being used as epithets.
This line of defense got shakier during an extended exchange with community activist Alvertis Simmons, who's never far from cameras or microphones when matters of this sort surface. (He starred in extended reports on channels 2 and 31 last night; since the stations are now sharing content, most of the footage was identical.) Simmons conceded that "marshmallow" probably wasn't racist at its core -- turns out the player in question was named Marshall. But he said "shrimp boat" conjured up images of toiling for low wages on the docks of Louisiana. Hence, the phrase was "like slavery to us," Simmons said amid a demand that the Colorado High School Acitivites Administration (CHSAA) immediately sanction Mullen over what happened.
During the sometimes heated conversation, Simmons came off as his usual splenetic self. But Logan didn't exactly shower himself in glory, either. Granted, he was in a difficult position. In 2009, however, anyone who argues that one or more racist terms might not be so bad under the circumstances is asking for trouble. And Logan found it.
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Decide for yourself by listening to the segment in question. It's in the second half of the MP3 accessible here.