Update on Tuesday: Folks, I wrote about this because of the Facebook element, which has been a big topic here at the Get Schooled blog because of cases involving teachers. But this has turned into a melee about the football league and its management. I have taken down several inappropriate comments. Please stick to the topic. I am also pulling out a response from the coach himself to provide more balance. Maureen
Here is the coach’s comment to the blog:
I am the guy you are all talking about. When I was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal & Constipation reporter, for 20 minutes, I told her how my family housed an African-American family for 4 months who lost their house due to a foreclosure, but all you saw were “tasteless” jokes between me and my Hispanic, African-American, Jewish, Female and Married to Hindu-American friends on Facebook. We took the African-American family in not because I was looking for some sort of pass to Heaven, but because it was the right thing to do. Oh, but now I am a racist, and I should get fired from a non-paying job that is 100% volunteer. Just know the facts before you ignorance reveals your ignorance.
Here is the original post:
Should a coach be held accountable for racist jokes on his Facebook page? Is he unfit to coach now because of those remarks, which are dividing parents in one of the area’s most robust youth leagues?
And shouldn’t we all know by now that posting on Facebook is not like having a private conversation among friends but more akin to taking a bullhorn into the town square?
Gwinnett folks are dealing with these issues after a volunteer youth football coach posted derogatory comments about minorities on Facebook.
Facebook poses real risks to people who work in the public in any capacity. I recently heard of a teacher in another state who posted highly critical comments about her students. She is fighting for her job, but will likely lose it.
I am not sure how this coach or anyone working with a diverse group of children wouldn’t consider the ramifications of racist jokes. I go back to the comment from Tim Callahan of PAGE: Don’t do it. Don’t have a Facebook page. Too risky.
I am more and more certain that is the safest course if you work with the public.
The Gwinnett case is troubling because of the nature of the comments. I can understand the concerns of parents.
A youth football coach’s racist ramblings on Facebook have created a rift in a posh metro Atlanta community, with angry parents promising to show up and oust Brookwood Football Association leaders in a Tuesday night election showdown.
The coach, Frank Samuelson, who led a team of 10-year-olds in the Brookwood Football Association this fall, created the upheaval when he made a series of posts in October that described south Asians as “Red Dots” and Hispanics as “Beaners,” and mocked other ethnic groups and women. The remarks led neighbors in the community to choose sides and accuse the Brookwood board of directors of protecting an insensitive coach.
Typical of Samuelson’s rants was this entry, misspellings included: “I was dining in an Asian buffet today [big surpise], and I heard this morning how Asian students are suppodely so much smarter than American kids. My personal observation is that those fishheads still eat with chopsticks. It took Western ingenuity to invent the fork. I’m just saying. … they a’int that friggin’ smart.”
While admitting his actions were wrong, Samuelson doesn’t think parents should hold the board responsible for them by ousting the group. He said outsiders didn’t understand the context of his posts or that he has a diverse set of friends.
“Is it in poor taste? Sure. But it was not intended to be printed out and break laws by sticking it on other people’s windshields,” said Samuelson , who has apologized and hired an attorney.
Another of his postings, which Samuelson said represented inside jokes between friends: “How to solve illegal immigration: Arrest the 30+ million illegals that are here first. Have them build a huge brick wall across the border [those guys do great brick work], and make them build it from the Mexican side of the border. Mount 50 calibre machine guns across the top and shoot anyone trying to climb over.”
The Brookwood Football Association is one in a network of youth sports organizations across metro Atlanta that provide recreation for thousands of kids at county parks. The associations feed high school sports teams by nurturing young talent. The Brookwood Football Association has brought in $1.14 million in gross receipts since 2005, tax records show.
Samuelson served as a board vice president for the diverse organization, whose participants are 50 percent minority. African-American, Hispanic, Asian and white parents offended by the coach’s comments, which they copied and distributed, are the ones pushing for change on the board. They said the comments aren’t representative of the new face of Brookwood: upper middle class, politically correct and racially accepting.
“It is inappropriate for a coach who is around all of these children in a non-profit organization to have posts up like that referring to women and minorities in derogatory terms,” said Eric Montgomery, a black parent of a Brookwood football player new to the association.
Roxanna Godden, whose son once played for Samuelson, said if the embattled coach is allowed to represent the board or work with children, her son will play elsewhere.
“I drive a good ways just so my son can play at the park because I wanted him to play with the best — Brookwood is known for baseball and football,” Godden said. “My son is mixed [racially]. If Frank is at the park next year, I don’t think, my son will be there.”
Brookwood Football Association’s election night also will draw staunch supporters of Samuelson, several of whom have said he has been punished enough by public opinion.
Tricia Freeman, another player’s parent, said the incident has been blown out of proportion and is being used by a group of newcomers and disgruntled parents looking to push their own agenda.
“What that gentleman posted on Facebook was between him and his friends,” Freeman said. “I actually don’t think he should have stepped down from the board. I just think there is a group of people using the race card to get people worked up.”
– Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog