An Arkansas high school football coach finds himself at the center of a maelstrom after he allegedly sent a racist text to the father of one of his student athletes.
As reported by Arkansas TEGNA CBS affiliate THV, Dumas (Ark.) High School football coach Max Pennington sent a text to the mother of an African American player who had not received any end of year awards that allegedly included the “n-word”. The text reportedly followed an earlier exchange in which Pennington apologized to the mother for the fact that her son did not receive any awards.
“I think he was having a conversation with someone else, maybe another one of his coaches on the staff, explaining to them what was going on, and he accidentally sent it to the wrong person,” area football scout Bradley Jenkins told THV. “Basically she received a message — first of all, from him for her son not receiving an award at the assembly, and then a few minutes later she received a text message saying that he hated the n-word … you know the n-word.”
Dumas officials have been quick to claim the text exchange was out of character for Pennington, who now faces a hearing that will determine whether or not he is allowed to remain in his job. At the same time, Dumas superintendent Kelvin Gragg acknowledged that the most important factor to consider was the culture of universal acceptance and equality across the district and in the football program.
“I was surprised. It was out of character. I was very surprised. [Coach Pennington] was apologetic and remorseful. There’s not much more I can say because it’s a personnel matter,” Gragg told THV.
“I’m very concerned with the climate we’re facing everywhere in the country. We are going to do everything we can to make Dumas is an inclusive environment for every person no matter the ethnic group.”