More controversy over alleged racism at pee-wee football game; Hudson mayor apologizes

8:52 AM, Oct 27, 2006   |    comments
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The video from the pee wee football game is controversial. It shows young Hudson fans wearing Afro wigs with faces painted black. Shaker Heights coach Jeffrey Saffold was disturbed by the actions in the stands. "I can't really imagine any analysis that would allow them to say it OK to dress kids in black face and put black wigs on and bang frying pans, " Saffold said. But many parents of the Hudson players told Channel 3's Mike O'Mara that there was absolutely no intent for any of their fans to be offensive. Kelly Dine is a parent of a Hudson player. "It was two little boys, not the entire fans, that happened to wear part of the Halloween costume,” Dine said. “They thought they were supporting their brother on the team." That explanation doesn't satisfy Stanley Miller, president of the Cleveland chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. "If they were very serious about it", said Miller, "they could have stopped the game, had everyone who was doing things that they shouldn't have been out of there. It would have a great teachable moment." In Euclid, Brooke Tierney says her family was on the receiving end of racist comments from Hudson parents last year when her son, Justin, was playing pee wee football. Her children are bi-racial. "You could hear them say n******- lover,” Tierney said. “I'm sorry, I know we're not allowed to use that on TV. We were walking by the Hudson parents, and you could hear it clear as day.” Meanwhile, in downtown Hudson, residents are deeply upset about the perception of insensitivity. The banners in the business district proclaim "a history of excellence." Liz Murphy has owned the bookstore in downtown Hudson for 23 years. "I want to tell them that we're not like that,” Murphy said. “I was horrified." Dine said that she feels "very badly if the Shaker parents felt like they were offended.” “If two little boys had these wigs on and they perceived that somehow it was an insult against them, it wasn't. It was truly to support our 8, 9 and 10 year old boys.” The mayor of Hudson, William Currin, said "personally I am appalled and saddened by the reported acts. I don't condone nor will I tolerate such actions. I will be investigating this incident and working with all interested parties to try to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again. Please know that this is an isolated incident and in NO WAY represents the vast majority of the upstanding citizens of Hudson.”

WKYC-TV

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