Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry met the academy's new superintendent for the first time Wednesday, and found himself being reprimanded, but...
DENVER — Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry met the academy’s new superintendent for the first time Wednesday, and found himself being reprimanded, but not fired, for statements he made about black athletes and recruiting.
The 67-year-old coach, known for his folksy, disarming charm and his homespun sayings, found himself in an imbroglio over political correctness for the second time in less than 12 months.
Last time, it was about religion in the locker room. This time, it was about black football players — or the lack of them — at the academy.
After his meeting with Lt. Gen. John Regni, DeBerry, who is suffering through a 3-5 season this year, issued an apology at a news conference.
“I realize the things I said might have been hurtful to many people and I want everyone to understand that I never intended to offend anyone,” DeBerry said.
On Tuesday, in discussing last weekend’s 48-10 loss to TCU, DeBerry said it was clear TCU “had a lot more Afro-American players than we did and they ran a lot faster than we did.”
“It just seems to me to be that way,” he said. “Afro-American kids can run very well. That doesn’t mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can’t run, but it’s very obvious to me that they run extremely well.”
DeBerry first discussed the topic Monday, telling The Gazette of Colorado Springs the academy needed to recruit faster players and noting, “You don’t see many minority athletes in our program.”
He said he realized he had erred as he was driving back to campus from his weekly luncheon with the media Tuesday.
Athletic director Hans Mueh said the coach would not lose his job.
“It was a seriously, seriously inappropriate comment,” Mueh said. “This was a great first step. This was not Fisher DeBerry, not the man I’ve known for 25 years. I’d like for us to all just move on from there.”
This episode comes about a year after DeBerry was asked to remove a banner from the locker room that displayed the “Competitor’s Creed,” including the lines “I am a Christian first and last … I am a member of Team Jesus Christ.”
Youngstown St. player charged with murder
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A Youngstown State football player has been arrested and charged in the shooting death of an Akron man.
Anthony Norman Jr., a redshirt freshman linebacker from Akron, was charged with murder, attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon in the July shooting death of Christopher L. Harris, Akron police said.
Harris was killed by crossfire when Norman and Michael Welch, both 19, began shooting at each other in a parking lot. Norman, taken into custody Tuesday, was being held in the Mahoning County jail.
• The American Civil Liberties Union filed a grievance against Hal Mumme, New Mexico State coach, saying he discriminated against a now-released Muslim player by repeatedly questioning him about al-Qaida. The grievance, filed Tuesday on behalf of running back Muammar Ali, also said the football staff required the team to recite the Lord’s Prayer at the end of each practice.