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11.04.05: Throat-slash gesture nets trouble for Callahan ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
11.03.05: Green Wave's road trip to Navy on the house ... Tulane coming home for C-USA hoops schedule ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
11.02.05: Fledgling FIU program lands series with Miami ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
11.01.05: Fledgling FIU program lands series with Miami ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.31.05: College Football Headliners: Stars & Storylines ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.30.05: C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.29.05: Wake football team loses four to suspension ...
C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.28.05: UTEP QB Palmer gaining his own slice of respect ... C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.27.05: Renewal of USM-NCSU series set for television ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.26.05: Pirate basketball set for lights, camera, action ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.25.05: Stokes' first squad opening act for Homecoming ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.24.05: College Football Headliners: Stars & Storylines ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.23.05: C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.22.05: C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.21.05: ECU injury report a mixed bag for U of M game ... NCAA tinkers with experimental basketball rules ... C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.20.05: Storm-weary Tulane blown off course again ... Video company repents for N.C. State incident ... C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.19.05: Southern Miss star receiver lost for season ...
C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.18.05: Pick artist Parker reinforces ECU's renaissance ... Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule
10.17.05: Conference USA Standings, Scores & Schedule ... College Football Headliners: Stars & Storylines
10.16.05: Conference USA Standings and Scoreboard
10.15.05: C-USA standings, scores & schedule
10.14.05: Va. Tech ponies up bonanza for Beamer, staff ... Lefty-inspired hoops tradition goes primetime ... C-USA standings, scores & schedule
10.13.05: Texas baseball stadium gets $13 million name ... Conference USA standings, scores & schedule
10.12.05: C-USA, Sun Belt bowl matchup moving to UL-L ... Feds: Wolfpack basketball player in USA illegally ... One- time Dye assistant calling it quits at Temple ... C-USA standings, scores & schedule
10.11.05: Mazey benched; Godwin to fill in as head coach ... Pinkney earns 3rd career player of week honor ... Conference USA standings, scores & schedule

News Nuggets, 11.05.05
 —  —  —  —  —

Previous Day Nuggets...             Next Day Nuggets...

Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Litke: Politically correct or not, blacks run faster

By JIM LITKE, AP Sports Columnist

Before Joe Paterno gets dunked in the same tub of recycled hot water where Fisher DeBerry nearly drowned last week, let's get one thing straight: They're right. Both of them.

Black athletes run faster.

Not all black athletes, of course. Distinctions are never more important than when discussing race, which is why generalizations like the paragraph above are bound to cause headaches. But the most recent, most credible research on the subject arrived at the very same conclusion, over and over. And that was five years ago.

Too often in the past, saying blacks were superior athletes was little more than a backhanded compliment, intended to smear them in the same breath as inferior human beings. Like many of us, author Jon Entine hoped that notion was history by the time he wrote ``Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It.''

But as the furor over DeBerry's remarks demonstrates, and while few would argue with what the Air Force Academy coach said, even fewer are comfortable talking about why it's true.

Entine is not, perhaps because he is careful about drawing distinctions, even among black athletes. He says descendants of East Africans — Kenyans, for example — are predisposed to lean body types better suited for distance running. Descendants of West Africans, on the other hand, have more muscular body types favoring speed.

DeBerry didn't bother with such distinctions when he explained a 48-10 pounding of his football squad by Texas Christian this way: ``The other team had a lot more Afro-American players than we did and they ran a lot faster than we did.''

And earlier this week, asked about the offensive explosion in college football, Paterno stuck his toe gingerly into the same pool.

``You gotta be careful how you say things sometimes, DeBerry got in trouble,'' Paterno began hesitantly. But then the Penn State coach added, ``The black athlete has made a big difference. They've changed the whole tempo of the game.''

For a full, frank discussion of why that's so, read Entine's book. For a quick explanation, scan the ranks of NFL cornerbacks and world-class sprinters.

``I did hear the gist of it and I think I know the point that he was trying to make,'' said Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, one of the NFL's most thoughtful leaders and a former cornerback himself.

``I didn't really read anything into it other than he wanted more speed on his team. ... I didn't think it was a racist comment. It may have been politically incorrect to say it that way,'' Dungy added, ``but I didn't view it negatively at all myself.''

Neither did Jon Drummond, a U.S. gold-medal sprinter who, like Dungy, is black.

``I laughed the first time I heard what the Air Force coach said. In fact, the flip side is a running joke in the sprint world. We're always saying, 'Find a white man who can run real fast and you'll find a man making a whole of money.'

``So do I think a guy should be reprimanded or fired for saying blacks are faster? No,'' Drummond said. ``I think we've definitely come a long away from the attitudes in place a generation or two ago. But do I think that coach needs to have a conversation, have somebody pull him aside and explain that it's still a very sensitive subject? Absolutely.''

The subject is still so raw that the right-thinking people at the Air Force Academy made a wrong-headed decision and forced a tearful apology from DeBerry the day after his original comments. All that proved is that people of every color can be made to atone in a hurry.

But DeBerry's sin wasn't as egregious as that committed by Paul Hornung, who said Notre Dame, his alma mater, should lower admission standards to net more blacks. Nor was it was as foolish as the pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo that Al Campanis and Jimmy ``The Greek'' Snyder tried to pass off as observations. Hornung got off light, but the same nonsense cost Campanis and Snyder their reputations and their jobs.

It's shameful how little the debate has advanced since. Entine believed when he finished ``Taboo'' five years ago that any discussion about race in the open ``beats backroom scuttlebutt.'' But every time it spills back into the headlines, he's not so sure.

``I think what DeBerry said was absolutely accurate," Entine said, "though he didn't say it as elegantly as he should have. The problem arose because of the historical context in which the discussions have been carried on ... that because blacks are better athletes, they somehow have less between the ears.

``But DeBerry wasn't saying that,'' Entine added, ``and frankly, I don't see how anybody with any common sense would question what he did say.''

In 1999, Entine was attending an academic conference and listening to speakers debate whether racial profiling was still widespread in sports when he noticed a man the size of a defensive lineman sitting alone in the back. He turned out to be an assistant football coach at a big-time college.

``I've been listening to this nonsense going on half an hour. ... At Division I or in the pros, to survive, coaches have to recruit the best players and we damn well better play them at the optimal positions,'' the assistant coach said. ``We don't care if a player is white, black or striped. The pressure to win is immense.''

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at

C-USA Football Standings, Scores & Schedule

(Through games of Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005)



TEAM                  C-USA  ALL
Central Florida        4-1   5-3
Southern Miss          3-1   4-3
Marshall               3-2   4-4
Memphis                3-3   4-4
UAB                    2-3   4-4
East Carolina          2-3   3-5


TEAM                  C-USA  ALL
Texas-El Paso          4-1   6-1
Tulsa                  4-1   5-3
Houston                2-2   4-3
Tulane                 1-4   2-5
Southern Methodist     1-4   2-6
Rice                   0-4   0-7



[C-USA teams in bold; ECU opponents in red.]


   UAB 37, Memphis 20


   West Virginia 45, Connecticut 13


   Tulane at Navy, 1:30 pm
at Southern Methodist, 3 pm (CSTV)
at Central Florida, 6 pm
at Texas-El Paso, 9:05 pm
   Duke at Clemson, TBA
   Wake Forest at Georgia Tech, TBA


[C-USA teams in bold; ECU opponents in red.]


   Central Florida 30, East Carolina 20
   Texas-El Paso 38, Rice 31
   Marshall 27, Tulane 26
N.C. State 21, Southern Mississippi 17
   Wake Forest 44, Duke 6


News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:29 PM


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