A Gwinnett coach trips over his Facebook postings

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:

Hey Folks,

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.

Coach

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.

Here is the AJC story:

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

187 comments Add your comment

Jennifer

December 13th, 2010
8:58 pm

Yes – if he posted this the community should oust him from his position.

Bob LaBlah

December 13th, 2010
9:08 pm

This is your lead story? Someone posts something on Facebook. I also fail to see how posting a joke about illegal immigrants is “racist”.

matthew

December 13th, 2010
9:10 pm

Pathetic Liberal media at its best!

Robert Luciano

December 13th, 2010
9:12 pm

This ignorant, White Trash moron is a despicable disgrace. The inbred Bigot serves to confirm that Georgia is the nation’s racist Back Water. Any parent wanting their kid anywhere near this creep is obviously cut from the same cloth.

John

December 13th, 2010
9:13 pm

liberal media? you’re actually defending this bigot?

Shahman

December 13th, 2010
9:15 pm

You have got to be kidding me. What happened to freedom of speech?? And you also need to look up the definition of “racist”. Learn all the facts from ALL involved and not the lunatic ramblings of a divisive group of minions who have their own self-serving agenda. Youth sports is about youth sports and nothing else. If you’re not there to be a benefit to ALL kids and not just your own, then move on to another place and start your own rec association

August

December 13th, 2010
9:15 pm

He says his comments were taken out of context, and I believe him. I have white, asian, and hispanic friends and we joke about race all the time…and it’s hilarious. However he’s in a leadership position involving *kids* and he chose to say these things in a forum where anyone has access. How are the kids supposed to take his comments? Most kids I know don’t really get sardonic wit, they just don’t have the life experience yet.
So yeah, he should go, but it’s too bad. I would say people need to get over race, but that’ll yet be a while. In the meantime, people really need to get smarter about fb and twitter.

Aquagirl

December 13th, 2010
9:21 pm

If this guy enhances little Johnny’s football skills, he could post child porn on Facebook and jock-sniffers won’t care.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

December 13th, 2010
9:25 pm

He should lose his job not because he’s racist(he is) but because he’s stupid. He should have known better and he didn’t, therefore he is not qualified to lead/teach others.

Oh and I love “Tricia Freeman’s” observation about the race card. This is the status of our society folks; making racist comments is not nearly as bad as complaining about it. I guess in her world, there’s a moral equivalence between being racist and being a victim of racism. Funny, funny Trish.

Bare Bryant

December 13th, 2010
9:26 pm

Like it or not, a coach is a teacher. HE should watch what he says. I wouldn’t want my sons learning to curse like a sailor from their coach. nor I would want my sons to learn about bigotry from him either. This dum dum has got to go.

Atlanta mom

December 13th, 2010
9:27 pm

Facebook poses real risks to people who work in the public in any capacity’
No, Facebook poses a risk to people who post without thinking. People put offensive commentary out in the public and then wonder why the public is offended. duh
If a teacher posts critical comments about her students, why does she think she should keep her job? Who among us can criticize our paying customers and keep our jobs? And why would anyone do that?? Sure, all of us complain about our jobs from time to time, but post it online? That’s just plain dumb.
” which Samuelson said represented inside jokes between friends” Well, if they are inside jokes between friends, why are they posted on Facebook?

matthew

December 13th, 2010
9:29 pm

of course! his comments were out of context. Turn on your rap music and you’ll hear real racism

EnoughAlready

December 13th, 2010
9:29 pm

Yes, he should be fire for the joke and for being stupid enough to post anything like it on his facebook page. Racist jokes aren’t funny regardless of the context.

I personally don’t think it was a joke and don’t think people who make comments like his should be working with diverse kids or kids from his/her ethnic group.

And yes, free speech is excellent – but you have to be willing to accept the consequences of those words when you insult the tax payers of the community. And yes; blacks, asians and hispanics pay taxes.

Furious Styles

December 13th, 2010
9:34 pm

Sigh…Once again for those who’ve missed the boat. Its 2010, pictures, posts, blogs, articles, comments etc., are visible to all and once up on the web will be there forever. If its a question whether you’ll end up with mud on your face from doing something on the internet, DON”T DO IT.

Bob

December 13th, 2010
9:36 pm

Come on, red dots and beaners! That’s funny! Oh yeah, learn the definition of racism.

H20 Boy

December 13th, 2010
9:36 pm

Question? Why do some people continue to divide the communities that they live in? Is it some kind of secret strategy that results in some sort of positive outcome or are they just plain stupid?

EnoughAlready

December 13th, 2010
9:40 pm

Bob, as long as he’s laughing all the way to the unemployment line. It’s funny to me. :)

matthew

December 13th, 2010
9:42 pm

But it’s ok to use the word crackers on the radio (790 AM Two Live Stews)! How dare he say red dot!

Pol Pot

December 13th, 2010
9:43 pm

Interesting. It seems that Gwinnett isn’t all that it appears to be.

Pol Pot

December 13th, 2010
9:46 pm

Matthew you’re talking radio now. Different ball game, besides why would FCC go after Two Live Stews when you have Howard Stern?

Joe Strummer

December 13th, 2010
9:47 pm

I said it once before: You have the right to free speech…as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it.

matthew

December 13th, 2010
9:47 pm

When has howard stern used the n word? The two live stews are black thugs that have used the word “cracker” many times. Are you saying that’s ok?

Who Cares?

December 13th, 2010
9:47 pm

It says they printed the comments and placed them on cars in the parking lot. This sounds a little more character assassination than anyone caring about the safety and well being of their kids. Targeted?

I’d also bet not one of the people complaining and calling for his job know him as a person. Usually how it works.

Qui Gon Jin

December 13th, 2010
9:48 pm

Good point Joe and as what Furious said, If its a question whether you’ll end up with mud on your face from doing something on the internet, DON”T DO IT.

Uncle Joe

December 13th, 2010
9:50 pm

Why you pink-skinned, bear-guzzlin’ bubba! Honkies coaches ain’t nuthin’ without some rich-skinned muscle! If Asians are so stupid how come China owns America, and accomplished dat with good-ole American capitalism? Put a fork in that, you bigoted whitey! Unh! Dat was fun!

irisheyes

December 13th, 2010
9:50 pm

If I’m not mistaken, he’s not a football coach paid by the Brookwood schools, he’s a volunteer coach with the Brookwood Football Association which plays at Bethesda Park, so it falls more under the parks and recreation than it does the schools. Plus, he’s a volunteer coach, so even if he’s “fired”, his kids won’t go hungry. I have no problem with them telling him he can’t coach anymore. There is the whole “reputation of the program” thing that they have to protect before they protect the rights of a volunteer football coach. And, how many of you defending him were here posting a couple of months back that teachers shouldn’t have FB pages because they have to hold themselves to a higher standard? But, you know, as long as he making fun of illegals, I guess it’s OK in your eyes.

Hootinanny Yum Yum

December 13th, 2010
9:51 pm

Protected free speech. If you don’t like his comments, don’t read them.

irisheyes

December 13th, 2010
9:51 pm

Darn, it’s been a while since I was caught in the filter! No bad words, I promise! :)

The Janitor

December 13th, 2010
9:53 pm

Well I’m white and don’t associate with people like that, I personally don’t know him, doesn’t sound like a guy I’d want to know personally either. People like that are unpredictable…..flip-floppers. These Jekyll & Hyde types are hard to figure out. Sounds like this guy switches it on when he’s on his Facebook, then switches it off once he gets around the kids. Since there’s no way to really tell, Would you want your kids around Jekyll & Hyde? Why take the chance.

Grace

December 13th, 2010
10:00 pm

Has nothing to do with freedom of speech. That we have. But when you’re employed by someone else you do it on their terms and you represent them.

You have no choice – he has to go. His excuses and explanations are worse than lame. He is deluded.

jp

December 13th, 2010
10:12 pm

Obviously the guy is a racist and should be fired. This goes beyond 1st amendment. No way I want this fool teaching young kids and bredding 30x more hatred.

Allen

December 13th, 2010
10:14 pm

He is trash. I wish he worked for me so I could fire his backside.

He can keep his freedom of speech I will keep my freedom of association and keep him away from me and my kids.

Youth Coach

December 13th, 2010
10:16 pm

This isn’t an issue of free speech. He had and still has the freedom of speech and to post what he wishes on his Facebook page.

But freedom does not mean that you’re not accountable for what you say/post.

This is also an issue where context doesn’t matter. The words were posted in black and white. Offensive names were used in the posts. Names that I wouldn’t want my child exposed to. This person has demonstrated that he does use them.

JOD

December 13th, 2010
10:17 pm

Tricia Freeman, you lady are an idiot for supporting that trash.

V for Vendetta

December 13th, 2010
10:22 pm

Fire this moron. Enough said.

Those who are crying “free speech” obviously have very little idea what that really means. I’m a rabid individualist, but what this guy did was beyond dumb and has NOTHING to do with free speech.

The Coach

December 13th, 2010
10:24 pm

Hey Folks,

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.

Coach

Maureen Downey

December 13th, 2010
10:31 pm

Mr. Samuelson, I appreciate your willingness to face this audience. I think the greater issue — at least to me — is the fact that people treat Facebook as a conversation among friends when it is a very public forum. I remain surprised at what people will post.
Maureen

Don KeBallz

December 13th, 2010
10:33 pm

You’re still an idiot Coach….bye bye or should I say “Adios”

Chris

December 13th, 2010
10:38 pm

How does posting about “illegal immigrants” equal racism? Coach sounds like a normal citizen as far as I can tell. If you want to target racism, maybe start with rap videos using “N bombs,” deer hunters using “N bombs” and maybe everyone else who thinks that there’s something wrong with being a proud Jew, Irishman, Kenyan, Italian, Sicilian, Polock, or any other American immigrant. We’re all here. Love it or leave it. No one gets special treatment here.

Chris

December 13th, 2010
10:42 pm

When the current generation has to work for, fight for, survive for or do anything for this country, maybe they’ll see past the MTV political philosophy of nothingness. You’re welcome for having nothing to do based on the hard work and bravery of your fathers/grandfathers and mothers/grandmothers. Shut up and work for something!!!!

WTF ???

December 13th, 2010
10:42 pm

Its easy to cast a big shadow hiding behind the internet. Mr. Samuelson would never in a million years stand in front of Hispanics or Asians and repeat his “jokes”. A little coward is what he is.

Blah Blah Blah

December 13th, 2010
10:43 pm

Whether you believe what he said was wrong or not, I believe that most agree the forum in which he said it was not the best choice for someone in a “public” leadership position. Mr. Samuelson, if you are going to “joke among friends”, Facebook probably is not the best place to do it.

People, this is not a “job”. It is a volunteer position as a recreational association football coach. And from what I understand about the situation, when the comments were called to the attention of the BFA Board, Mr. Samuelson was removed from his position and will not be allowed to coach a team in the Association again.

AJC, did you ask those who floated this story to you what else they expected to happen? It apparently wasn’t enough that Mr. Samuelson was removed from his position that now they want to remove the entire Board. What did the rest of the Board have to do with the “racially” insensitive comments made by Mr. Samuelson? Sounds to me like there is a separate agenda here and this is just another classic example of people playing the race card to distort the situation in hopes of furthering their own agenda.

So to those who continue their vendetta against this Board, what is it really about….did you not get a seat on the Board? Did you not get selected to coach a team? Did “little Johnny” not get to play as much as you thought he should – or the position you thought he should play? AJC….did you ask them that question? I didn’t think so!!

If you have an agenda against this Board, state your reason and don’t hide behind an issue that was already addressed. AJC, dig a little deeper next time and try to present the entire story.

WTF ???

December 13th, 2010
10:43 pm

Chris, try DeCaf next time ….

WTF ???

December 13th, 2010
10:46 pm

Blah x3 …..100 % right on !! Excellent points.

Chris

December 13th, 2010
10:48 pm

Until there are no different colors of skin, there will always be racism. Until you can project a perfect race to the world, via the media, you’ll never have peace. Black people like chicken and rims. White people like Polo and LL Bean. Hispanics like hot sauce and beans. Is there anything wrong with accepting differences and just moving on? Or do we have to sue and roll heads over every cultural difference? If it’s a fight you want, we all lose. Let’s have some sauerkraut burritos with watermelon and flan for dessert. Cool?

Chris

December 13th, 2010
10:49 pm

WTF??? – I haven’t had any caffeine today, but thanks for thinking of me. At least you read my post. That’s a start.

WTF ???

December 13th, 2010
10:49 pm

funny stuff Chris….LOL you are alright in my book …hahaha

WTF ???

December 13th, 2010
10:51 pm

Chicken and rims could be a great rap song !!!

Chris

December 13th, 2010
10:51 pm

WFT??? hey man. Thanks. I’m one for blending. Let the differences help us grow. C’mon already.

Grace

December 13th, 2010
10:51 pm

Coach (really?), you’re an idiot. Crawl back under your rock.