Stanford White spent nearly 30 years coaching more than football at Douglass High School. He taught his players that the game “is just a tool that helps you get ready for life,” one of his former players, current Douglass coach Willis Alexander, said when White retired in 2004.
Which makes White's comments following the Trojans' semifinal loss to Poteau in the Class 4A playoffs all the more disappointing. Douglass lost 27-20 Saturday in a game that saw three Trojan scoring plays wiped out by penalties. In all, they had 15 penalties for 110 yards. Poteau had six for 50 yards.
The game was played in McAlester, a neutral site. In a comment posted below the game story on NewsOK.com, White noted “the obvious bias” shown by the officials and reminded Trojan fans that “the game was played in a redneck part of a ‘Red' state and the zebras were just doing what comes naturally to some of them ... having Obama flashbacks and started ‘taking their country back.'”
He went on to ask what reaction Poteau fans would have had “if they had settled down in their seats to watch a game and were greeted by four BLACK officials.”
Alexander said after the game that the refs played a role: “I'm disappointed the kids didn't get to decide it.” But to his credit, Alexander also acknowledged that his team “didn't make the plays when we had the opportunity to make them.”
KOCO-5 asked Mike Whaley, who oversees the state's high school officials, about White's remarks. Officials do what they do “because they love the game and want to give back,” Whaley said “... I can't even answer that one.” Nor should he have to. Sometimes, officials blow calls. And sometimes, players commit penalties at crucial times.
To suggest that racism determined the outcome is unfair to Poteau's players and coaches and impugns the officiating crew. And, it reflects poorly on a man who always displayed class on the sidelines.