Claims of racist remarks by a Fort Worth-area softball coach have led to a formal civil rights investigation by the respected Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.
The announcement of a formal investigation by the SCLC follows months of debate at Richland High School, where head softball coach Brenda Jacobson stands accused of making racially insensitive remarks. The quotes in question are unquestionably offensive, the debate centers around whether Jacobson truly made them or not.
The initial furore into Jacobson’s professional demeanor began in late April, when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram obtained school records through the Texas Open Records Act. What they discovered was an account of a practice drill, where Jacobson allegedly offered the following comments:
Richland players claimed that Jacobson said “black people attract more heat,” that she described black people’s hair as “nappy” and “nasty” and that she said “black people don’t like water.” When a black player cut her leg sliding, Jacobson allegedly said, “See, everyone is white on the inside,” according to one statement.
Jacobson has steadfastly denied that she made the comments, and she has received support from the Birdville school district, which claimed that it held its own investigation into the incident and determined that the case was one of “bad judgement” and not overt racism. Additional records obtained by the Star-Telegram show that Jacobson was later reprimanded by Richland principal Carla Rix because of her comments. A total of 11 players were interviewed during Richland’s internal investigation, with more than one player citing the same comments that the Star-Telegram first made public, as mentioned above.
Those punishments are of little solace to parents of players on the team, who have demanded that Jacobson be dismissed.
“This is not a personal thing,” Darren Darracq, the President of the program’s booster club, told the Star-Telegram. “I don’t care if they’re taken out of context or not — those four comments can’t be used in a learning environment.”