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Sunday, April 5, 2009

UConn Women's Coach Mentions (GASP!) Race

While I was writing the previous post on men's basketball and race, I overheard a comment recorded from the day before on the Women's Final Four pregame show on TV. Unbeaten UConn's women's team coach Geno Auriemma, notorious for being controversial, didn't disappoint. I looked it up to get the words right. Here's what he said, unprompted by any question on the subject from reporters:

“I know this is going to get played out the wrong way,” said Auriemma, who was named the Associated Press women’s coach of the year for guiding Connecticut to a 37-0 record. “But I’m going to say it anyway. And I know I’m going to get criticized for this.

“White kids are always looked upon as being soft. So Stanford’s got a tremendous amount of really good players who for whatever reason, because they don’t look like Tina Charles or Maya Moore, the perception out there is going to be, well, they must be soft.

“Well, I think that’s a bunch of bull. I watched them play and nobody goes harder to the boards. Nobody takes more charges. Nobody runs the floor as hard. Those kids are as tough as any of the kids in the country. But people on the sports world like to make judgments on people by how they look. And it’s grossly unfair.”

I don't care much for Auriemma from what I've heard about him, but I commend him, too, for not dodging the subject. Sure, he had an angle he was working, a psychological game he was playing. But there's truth there, too. White women: sweet, soft, feminine, delicate, playing the finesse game. Black women: tough, physical, athletic, (maybe even mean?)

That's the stereotyped image. He was just calling it out, and debunking it. Good for him. (Not that I expect Stanford to beat them later tonight--no one has played Uconn within 10 pounts, much less beat them, this season!)

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