By Hal Brown
The Raw Story + Exclusives published "A deafening silence from Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s Black football players" by Donnell Alexander. I think those without a subscription can read if here. The author tried unsuccessfully with one notable exception, to reach Black football players who were on Tommy Tuberville's college teams. He wanted to ask them about whether they'd seen instances of his racism back in their college days. Reading the article made me want to scream out loud. Instead of doing this I wrote the following blog.
Only Black former player who spoke out for the article was Eric Ramsey. This is what Wikipedia tells us about him:
Eric Ramsey was a defensive back for Auburn University's football team in the early 1990s who used a tape recorder to secretly record conversations between his football coaches and Booster "Corky" Frost regarding an illicit player payment scheme. Ramsey's allegations also included racist practices at Auburn, including disapproval of inter-racial dating in the community and segregation of black and white players in the resident athletic dorm. After his tapes were revealed, Auburn received strict penalties and probation for the sixth time in the school's history. This scandal prompted Coach Pat Dye's resignation and preceded the hiring of Samford Universityfootball coach Terry Bowden. Read complete profile here.
Ramsey was not one to accept wrongdoing back in 1991:
The most successful sustained period in Auburn football history was undone in part by a “pay for play” scandal that broke early in the 1991 season. In June of that year, former Tigers defensive back Eric Ramsey alleged in a term paper that was made public that Auburn’s football program was “racist and condescending” to African-American players. That September, Ramsey unloaded another bombshell, that he’d been paid by boosters under an elaborate incentive program, and that he had secretly recorded meetings with assistant coaches Larry Blakeney, Steve Dennis and Frank Young in which the scheme — which involved two Auburn boosters funneling money to players through the football staff — was openly discussed. The Birmingham News printed a transcript of several of the tapes in November, on one of which Blakeney can be heard telling Ramsey to keep the arrangement quiet, uttering the infamous phrase “keep it down home, cuz.” The NCAA’s Letter of Inquiry arrived in November 1992, charging the football program with nine violations. Head coach Pat Dye — who had also been the Tigers’ athletic director during the time the violations occurred — resigned a few weeks later on the eve of the Iron Bowl. The following August, Auburn was hit with a two-year bowl ban, a TV ban for 1993 and the loss of 13 scholarships over a four-year period.
Here's what Ramsey told Raw Story writer Donnell Alexander about whether the other Black players would expose Tuberville's racism while they played for him:
- "They're not going to do or say anything. They fear the repercussions. They're worried about the consequences.”
- “They are free to do everything, but talk. It all goes back to the mentality of being seen and not heard. It's just something that is ingrained in them.”
Here's how the Raw Story+ article describes what happened after he exposed the payoff scheme at Auburn:
Back then, though? He was fortunate not to be tarred and feathered. At his 1992 graduation from Auburn, Ramsey and his wife were booed, called the N-word and had objects thrown at them.
“I wasn't worried,” said Ramsey, who identifies as a Christian. “I had a higher purpose.”
Ramsey now is an actor and filmaker, and runs a security firm in California:
The only other former player who has gone public that I can find is White. It's Auburn linebacker-turned-novelist Ace Atkins who was interviewed for the Raw Story article. This is what he tweeted in May:
Of all the hundreds of Black players who are familiar with Tommy Tuberville and may be able to relate accounts of how his bigotry was manifest when they were on his teams * it is lamentable that only this one has spoken out if they also observed or experienced his racism.
Then again, it is possible that except for rare moments when he let his true feelings and beliefs slip nobody else saw this side of him. Or is it possible that he doesn't have a racist bone in his body?
Perhaps his current comments which have been taken as indications of racism have been misinterpreted. Maybe when an interviewer asked if Tuberville believed white nationalists should be allowed in the military it wasn't racist when he responded by saying “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans” and he just meant this literally. After all, racists who are citizens are Americans the same way Neo-NAZIs, bank robbers, and serial killers are, and the same way that members of the KKK burning crosses and hanging Black people were also American citizens.
My blog won't reach very many people, but I can only hope that articles like this in Raw Story and republished for a wider audience on MSN prompt other Tuberville team members whether Black or not, if in fact there are any, who can give examples of Tuberville's racism go public.
Update: Read: Tommy Tuberville made $25m off Black men. God forbid they get anything back from The Guardian about nine months age. The former Auburn football coach earned a small fortune thanks to Black athletes. As a US senator he has shown them little but contempt
*He coached at Auburn University from 1999 to 2008. He was also the head football coach at the University of Mississippi from 1995 to 1998, Texas Tech University from 2010 to 2012, and the University of Cincinnati from 2013 to 2016)