White students at Clemson apparently thought it would be a good idea to party in blackface, drink malt liquor, and generally make big asses of themselves. This was their way to commemorate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Not that anyone should be shocked. This kind of behavior has been going for centuries, but courtesy of Facebook.com we just have more visual evidence. Let's hope most people at Clemson today do not condone this type of behavior, but the latest incident does not reflect well on the entire school.
The OG fake black party
Clemson has an interesting history of throwing parties that cannot be excused with a simple case of Halloween. From 1970 to 1975, Clemson basketball was coached by Tates Locke. In his book (co-authored by Bob Ibach) "Caught in the Net," Locke recalled his over-the-top recruitment of Phil Ford, Tree Rollins, and other talented black players. Problem: How do you get blacks to feel comfortable attending an almost all-white institution that was slow to integrate? Solution: Set up a fictitious black fraternity. Then hire black students, including females (shocking!), from an historically black university to create the appearance that Clemson was a comfortable place for really good black basketball players. In his book Locke also admits he knew about under-the-table payments booster payments and academic dishonesty. All in all, Locke exhibited predictable behaviorof a coach desperate to stay employed. Pure comedy.
Can't mention Clemson without invoking one of my all-time favorite comments regarding academic integrity in college athletics. It was said by Clemson titular grad and former NBA player Elden Campbell. When asked if he earned a college degree, Campbell replied, "No, but they gave me one anyway." At least he was honest.
Another great moment in Clemson literary fantasy was depicted in Dan Jenkins's book, "You Gotta Play Hurt." Climpson, as Jenkins calls them, led by center Potatus Fry made it all the way to the Final Four in Atlanta. Potatus Fry (typing his name makes proofing more fun!) majored in Weightroom Management.
© 2007 Marc Isenberg. All rights reserved.