Saturday, February 21, 2015

192.7 - Clown Award: "White Power" sign at high school basketball game

Clown Award: "White Power" sign at high school basketball game

Updated. Now for one of our regular features, it's the Clown Award, given as always for an act of meritorious stupidity.

The winners of the Big Red Nose this week are a couple of meathead students at Flower Mound High School of Flower Mound, Texas.

It happened at what must have been a heck of a high school basketball game on February 13 - it went to triple overtime - between Flower Mound and the mostly African-American team from Plano East. Late in the game, a couple of students in the Flower Mound section were seen holding up signs facing the Plano East bench reading "White Power."

Some have suggested it might have been a coincidence, a moment of transition taken out of context and given authority by the power of social media. The argument, in its strongest form, is that the "white" sign likely referred in some way to the Flower Mound school colors, which are blue and white, and the "power" sign was supposedly part of a cheer of "Jaguar power," the Jaguars being the team's name.

Frankly, I don't buy it and I'll tell you why. According to multiple witnesses, the signs were up long enough for Plano East students to notice and start pointing at them and for Flower Mound teachers to respond by rushing into the stands to have them taken down. One Plano East student estimated they were up 30 seconds. Certainly they were up long enough for someone to react and take the picture.

That is no coincidence. That is no mistake. If you want to say "blue and white" you don't hold up just "white" for 30 seconds. If you want to say "Jaguar power," you do not hold up just "power" for 30 seconds. That is no mistake.

Especially not when witnesses said there were racial epithets called out to Plano East players during the game. And doubly especially not when after the game players from Plano East discovered that their team bus had been urinated and defecated on. Neither school has confirmed that, but local TV reported that what they called "enough" students had.

Y'know, high school students, especially males, can be jerks at times. It kind of goes with the territory. So they need to be cut a certain degree of slack. They can clown around, they can be clownish even - but when that clownishness crosses over into outright bigotry, then they have without a doubt become true clowns.

Updated with the information that a school investigation has found that the urination and defecation did happen and the signs were no coincidence but were coordinated between the two boys who held them. On the other hand, claims that Flower Mound students had chanted "white power" during the game were held to be unfounded. It's not clear if that covers the charge of "racial epithets," which could have been individual catcalls, or not.

Before their repeat game on February 20, the two teams joined in a pre-game show of unity. Finally, unlike last week's game, a triple-overtime nail-biter won by Flower Mound 73-71, this one was a blowout: Plano East, 71-41.

(I'll be including this Update in next week's show.)

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