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Slur word cost Edison coach his job


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should have he lost his coaching job  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. should have he lost his coaching job

    • Yes
      8
    • No
      9
    • dont know/care
      5


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Former Edison High(a local high school) boys basketball coach Ron Gonzalez's use of a racial slur around his team led to his dismissal Monday.

Edison's first-year Principal Rick Lopez found Gonzalez's use of the slur to be more serious than an initial investigation in August had determined, said Lopez and John Marinovich, Fresno Unified School District assistant superintendent of high schools.

According to Edison players Justin Ayers and Kellan Carter, Gonzalez used the racial slur at a team barbecue in July at a hotel in Utah, where the Tigers were playing in a tournament. Gonzalez, who is Hispanic, told his players, most of whom are black, that some people in the community told him he could better communicate with his players if he called them the N-word.

Ayers and Carter also said Gonzalez, who coached the Tigers for three seasons, immediately apologized after making the comment, then apologized to parents when the team returned to Fresno.

The players, who are black, said he never used the word in any other context.

"He apologized right after he said it, so it was cool," Carter said. "We weren't offended by it."

The first investigation started in the summer after two complaints were filed by Micalandis Leslie, a parent of one of the team members.

Fresno Unified's then-interim head of human resources Robert Thompson and former Edison Principal Jim Bowen conducted a joint investigation. They, along with Marinovich and Edison athletic director Bill Engel, met with Gonzalez on

Aug. 9, according to a letter sent from Bowen to Leslie on Aug. 17. The findings of that meeting, along with statements from players and parents, determined Gonzalez used the slur while quoting someone else. The letter said Gonzalez would not be fired and that any disciplinary action would be a personnel issue. A separate letter from Thompson to Leslie said the district supported Bowen's decision.

"When I first got those letters ? it shook me,"

Leslie said. "Not only did they admit he said it, they were not going to do anything about it. I kind of felt that no one was listening."

The investigation was reopened this month after Leslie, who said he represented about 40 parents and members of the community, went to new Superintendent Michael Hanson and school board president Luisa Medina asking for a more complete inquiry.

"There was a fear that the first investigation wasn't as thorough as it should have been," Marinovich said.

During a meeting Sept. 21, Lopez and Marinovich asked players and their parents if they wanted Gonzalez to return as coach. The decision was a unanimous yes, according to players.

"Nobody said he should [be fired]," Carter said. "Every parent was supporting him."

Despite the vote of confidence from the players and parents, as in the first investigation, the school district backed Lopez's decision not to renew Gonzalez's coaching contract. Gonzalez will remain as an English teacher at Edison.

"I don't think [the second investigation] led to any other conclusions than the previous investigation," Lopez said. "I think the bottom line was that we try to make a decision based on what's best for the students."

Marinovich confirmed there were no new allegations and that none of the players or parents had differing stories. But he said the "magnitude" of Gonzalez's use of the racial slur was "greater than we thought it was."

Said Leslie: "If we have [a zero-tolerance] policy with kids, we should have it with coaches, teachers and administrators. This is 2005; it is definitely not appropriate."

Ayers and Carter said they left last Wednesday's meeting feeling Gonzalez would be their coach this season and that their voice was heard. Marinovich said the school district and Lopez took into consideration the players' opinions, but the players didn't see it that way.

"We all told them we want to play for Gonzalez," Ayers said. "They acted like they were taking it all in, but basically they brushed it off. It was a waste of our time. They basically messed everything up."

Gonzalez said racial issues at Edison are not a new concern for him.

"This is something I've dealt with here for three years," he said. "A lot of it has been [people saying] I don't understand African-American kids because I'm Hispanic."

Leslie, whose son spent some time with the varsity team last season, stressed that his pursuit of action from the district was not a personal attack on Gonzalez.

"Several members of our community felt that his behavior was unacceptable, and we were not going to accept anything less than his resignation," Leslie said. "As far as I'm concerned, Gonzalez did a fine job, but he crossed over a line that is not acceptable to cross. It wasn't about basketball. It wasn't personal."

Some of the team and several students at Edison said they planned a rally in support of Gonzalez for 7 a.m. today in front of Edison's administration building.

The season starts the last week in November, and Engel said the school plans to have a new coach in place within three weeks, although Lopez said the coach likely will serve on an interim basis.

For now, the Tigers ? who have not practiced in more than a month ? are a team that feels betrayed.

"The feeling is bad," Ayers said. "I can't even describe how good he's been. He's the best coach for this school and they know it. They are supposed to make decisions for us, but they aren't."

what do you guys think?

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well...it seems that nowadays the word ending with 'a' is acceptable to blacks, but if you end with 'er' people get ****ed. i just say dont use the word at all.

i do find it funny though that at our school, blacks who use the word do not get in trouble and if they call us 'crackers' there is no punishment, tho it is a racial slur. man, i love the US :pinch:

oh, and yeah i think he should have lost his job...that's just not acceptable to use the word. plain and simple.

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well...it seems that nowadays the word ending with 'a' is acceptable to blacks, but if you end with 'er' people get ****ed. i just say dont use the word at all.

i do find it funny though that at our school, blacks who use the word do not get in trouble and if they call us 'crackers' there is no punishment, tho it is a racial slur. man, i love the US :pinch:

oh, and yeah i think he should have lost his job...that's just not acceptable to use the word. plain and simple.

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(Y) Labels suck period.

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I don't think that he should have used it...and IMHO it doensn't matter if it ends with an "a" or an "er"...nobody should say that crap, regardless of their color or ethnicity. It's ignorant no matter what letters it ends with.

EDIT--I forgot to answer the question...It sounded like to me that he was just telling the kids that someone told him to use the "N" word. When he told the team about it he said it and then apologized for saying it immediatly.

Edited by DreAming in DigITal
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I gather that high school sports coaches get paid in the US or was he just fired from a volunteer position?

At any rate, he's an educator first and a coach second so, yes, I agree that his contract should not have been renewed.

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As a former high school athlete, I'm going to have to side with the students of that school on this one. Coaches at all levels of sports say things that can sometimes be considered "unacceptable" in public. However, almost 100% of the time, it is used to somehow motivate the athletes. There are countless times that my football coaches said things that they would otherwise not say if we had not been on a football field, but who cares. And the way I look at it, many african-americans use that term when talking amongst friends, of any ethnicity, so why should they suddenly become offended if a non-african-american uses the term, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE DERAGATORY. Now, if the coach used it in some kind of deragatory manor, then yes of course, he should have been fired, but I don't believe that was the case.

That's my two sense.

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if the students themselves (or the people that he directed the word too) are not personally offended by it, then why should anyone else care. Seriously, it's the year 2005 and we still have issues with 'name calling'...please... there are people starving, and dying in the world. Who cares about some petty name calling, especially in this case, when it's not even meant to be hurtfull. They give teachers who are pedaphiles their jobs back after a 2 year suspension, and fire a guy for simply using a word that has basically been dead of meaning for a 100 years.

LET HIM KEEP HIS JOB !! and focus on something more productive :cool:

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As a former high school athlete, I'm going to have to side with the students of that school on this one. Coaches at all levels of sports say things that can sometimes be considered "unacceptable" in public. However, almost 100% of the time, it is used to somehow motivate the athletes. There are countless times that my football coaches said things that they would otherwise not say if we had not been on a football field, but who cares. And the way I look at it, many african-americans use that term when talking amongst friends, of any ethnicity, so why should they suddenly become offended if a non-african-american uses the term, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE DERAGATORY. Now, if the coach used it in some kind of deragatory manor, then yes of course, he should have been fired, but I don't believe that was the case.

your right, i agree with that, he didnt offended anyone but most likely someone on the team was talking about his day and his mom and she got mad. im mexican american and i joke by saying the N with one of my black friends and he knows i dont care about about the color of someones skin. if the person its not to be deragtory then its ok. the guy is a english teacher, and only lost his coaching job.

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no way, he shouldn't have been fired. i always call my dark skinned friends << racial epithet >>, they don't care, they know i'm no racist and the main reason why i use it is that it rubs off on me by watching rappers call each other << racial epithet >>. if white people can't call people << racial epithet >>, african americans shouldnt be able to do it either

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I don't think that he should have used it...and IMHO it doensn't matter if it ends with an "a" or an "er"...nobody should say that crap, regardless of their color or ethnicity. It's ignorant no matter what letters it ends with.

Erm... wrong.

It's only offensive in English, and only when directed to somebody.

Anyhow, I'm with Chsoriano in this one.

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/\ Erm...He doesn't live in Portugal homeboy....He is in America (english speaking) ...so yes...it is an ignorant word. If you don't believe me come on over to the US and shout it out a few times. But again...like I said he wasn't directing it at one of the players...he was telling them about what others said.

Edited by DreAming in DigITal
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