04.30.05

Oklahoma Suspends Cochell

Posted in Baseball at 12:59 am by

From the Dallas Morning News’ Brian Davis.

Oklahoma baseball coach Larry Cochell was removed from his position indefinitely Friday after school officials learned that he used racially derogatory language during two separate interviews with ESPN announcers.

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione issued a statement Friday night that Sunny Golloway will be the team’s interim head coach until the matter is resolved.

“This university is a place where everyone is respected,” Castiglione said in a statement. “Clearly, if these comments were made, they run contrary to the core values of this institution and we will treat them very seriously.”

Cochell (above) made the comments before Tuesday’s game at Wichita State, according to ESPN announcers Gary Thorne and Kyle Peterson.

Thorne said he was talking with Cochell before the game in the dugout. Cochell summoned Joseph Dunigan, a 19-year-old black athlete from Chicago, to the dugout and complimented the freshman outfielder on his schoolwork.

After Dunigan walked away, Thorne said Cochell made a racial slur. According to the network, which first reported the incident on its 5 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, Cochell said: “There’s no [racial epithet] in him.”

Cochell, who is white, was speaking with ESPN analyst Kyle Peterson sometime later before the game. The two began talking about Dunigan.

ESPN reported that Cochell said to Peterson: “There are honkies and white people. And there are [racial epithet] and black people. Dunigan is a good black kid.”

Josh Krulewitz, ESPN’s director of media relations, said both interviews were considered on-the-record because the announcers were gathering information to be used during the broadcast. However, Cochell was not on camera. OU labeled the encounters as “a private meeting.”

I’ve been watching a lot of Big 12 baseball this year and have noticed there aren’t a ton of black players. And in addition to all the things we’re always hearing about other sports being more popular pursuits for African-American athletes, perhaps the climate isn’t so welcoming if characters like Cochell feel comfortable making those sort of remarks.

No truth to the rumor, by the way, that Cochell has been offered a position with the Long Island Ducks.

9 Responses to “Oklahoma Suspends Cochell”

  1. Mike Styles says:

    It seems that the coach made himself clear when he said, “there are Honkeys and Whites, Niggers and Blacks”. One could add, “Spics and Hispanics, Chinks and Orientals, et al. This man gets fired for saying that his player was a good student and didn’t act like a Black thug ie. a Nigger. This is a crazy world. Nigger is just a discrptive word used to describe a sort of person with black skin, just as “trailer trash, skooter nasty, wetback…” are terms to describe certain people of certain origins who possess certain unsocially acceptable traits. I am tired of whiney people of all backgrounds who want to curb the use of descriptive terms. And why? Because they know the attributes do indeed describe real people. Without these terms, someone must use a sentence or a paragraph to describe someone where a single word would surfice. GET OVER IT ALREADY PEOPLE!!! Very few people are Honkeys, Niggers, or Spics. But if we must describe one, or in this case distinguish someone from that crowd or worthless social leaches, it is sad that a good coach is driven from his job for praising his student/athlete for not being one.

  2. CSTB says:

    Mike,

    why was it necessary for Coach Cochell to distinguish Dunigan from black thugs? Wouldn’t it have been enough for him to say “Joseph is really coming along in his studies,” or something like that? If Dunigan is a conscientious student, a solid citizen, a good teammate, etc. the color of his skin is unimportant. That Cochell even has to qualify his praise speaks volumes about his attitudes towards black people. That you fail to see the word “nigger” as anything more than “a descriptive term”, doesn’t necessarily surprise me.No IQ test is required to read or post to this blog. But that a longterm employee of the University of Oklahoma can’t tell the difference is a total fucking embarrassment to that school and state.

  3. Mike Styles says:

    What does an IQ # have to do with opinions? Nada! There was no reason for the coach to add to his praise by distinguishing his athelete from others less worthy, regardless of race. Yes, “nigger” is more than just a “descriptive term”. In an ideal world, it would simply refer to a lazy or slovenly person, regardless of race. In our world, it is used to descripe a person who happens to hold those traits and be black. Blacks use the term daily amongst each other, sometimes with venom and sometimes with jest or affectation. The coach didn’t “qualify” his praise, rather he used the term to point out that the student was unlike many others. Bring out the crying towels. Real men don’t get upset over “words”. But, as I told a friend about this incident, in today’s world me must pretend that the word “nigger” does not exist. By the way, no one ever makes himself look well by speaking ill of others, especially those with whom he has never met.

  4. Lynn says:

    Mike,
    I find it difficult to believe that you feel that a coach at the college level should not be held accountable for using such an overtly offensive term. I’m certain that the University of Oklahoma has a program that allows coaches to take courses that would allow them to express their views in a more appropriate and articulate manner. Would you feel the same way if your daughter was a member of a sports team and her coah praised her for not being a “whore, bitch, tramp or slut?” Your position is nothing short of ridiculas! Many of these young men and women on college teams are away from home for the first time and are looking to their coaches for guidance and support. If college coaches show their atlethes support such as this our young people are in trouble.

  5. Natalie says:

    FYI: Not all Black people refer to themselves or others as n*****.

  6. CSTB says:

    Dear Numb Nuts,

    a) “Blacks use the term daily amongst each other, sometimes with venom and sometimes with jest or affectation.”

    which precludes anyone (black or otherwise) from taking umbrage at casual use of the word?

    b)”Real men don’t get upset over ‘words’.”

    Amen. Let’s hear if for all the ladies (and fake men) who reject cliches and tired stereotypes.

    There’s more to this than a free speech issue. The State Of Oklahoma shouldn’t have a guy controlling baseball scholarships who has such a narrow sense of cultures other than his own. So best of luck (sincerely) to Coach Cochell in his future efforts to prove that you’re never too old to cease the racist rhetoric. But Furious Styles and the other apologists can fuck off.

  7. Rick says:

    I think Mike’s point here is being obscured by the fact that he is trying to defend use of racial slurs to describe people. The basic point he is trying to convey is that political correctness and its proponents have intimidated our society into hiding certain realities. We aren’t allowed to publicly talk about many issues that have validity because those issues are seen as offensive or insensitive. Certainly use of racial slurs in describing these issues is not ok. But that is really only a secondary point here.

  8. GC says:

    thanks, Rick. Such a shame that “political correctness” has made it difficult for a man paid by the Oklahoma taxpayers to say “there’s no nigger in him”.

    We’ve got free speech coming in and out of our ears. How many other state employees would’ve lasted even an hour on the job after making such a public statement? You can blame Cochell’s sacking on “political correctness” but if a so-called educator doesn’t have a greater understanding of the baggage attatched to that slur, he’s probably in the wrong line of work. If you’re watching the Super Regionals and hopefully next week’s College World Series, be sure to note the paucity of black faces on the playing field, especially compared to the NCAA’s basketball or football centerpieces. Certainly that isn’t Larry Cochell’s fault, but if there’s a perceived institutional insensitivity to black players, that’s going to have some impact on who chooses to participate. As a baseball fan and a fucking member of the human race, I think that’s our loss.

  9. Uncle Sam says:

    The point here is that he has a perfectly legal right to make that observation and to make that statement. It’s unimportant what the word means to “you”. It’s important what the word means to HIM. And he obviously understood that there are indeed “niggers” among us. There are also “white trash” among us. And the terms refer to character more than race.
    For example, to call George Washington Carver a “nigger” is a total characterization. He was truly a Godly man, gifted with knowledge, hunility, and an impeccable character. Now, take O.J. Simpson. A filthy murderer who stalked his poor ex wife whom (he had beaten and victimized for years) and murdered her on her on front porch- while his own children were in her house.

    THAT my friends is a dirty nigger. If you cannot see the difference, you are bound for the loss of all you hold dear. Mak My Words.

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