Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Peter Nowak faces allegations of racism

Real Salt Lake has filed a complaint against DC United coach Peter Nowak (pictured) regarding statements they feel he made during a match on Feb. 17th. Real's complaint says that Nowak said that a black player should be, "sent back to Africa." Nowak says his actual statement was, "sent to hospital."

I was not there, so I don't know what was or was not said, but if he did suggest that a player be sent back to Africa, he should resign his post now. This should not be tolerated in any way from a professional league.

However, I find it hard to believe that Nowak would have said such a thing. Yes, he was upset over what he considered hard tackles and rough play being used against his players, but it just doesn't make sense for him to dive into racist statements, especially with black players sitting on his own bench.

On top of that, none of the players near him thought he said that, nor did the assistant ref, who was apparently within a few feet of the coach.

What I think might be the issue is Nowak's broken English.

The player who the alleged words were said about is Atiba Harris, a player from the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. I could be wrong, but it does not seem like Harris is the person who claimed Nowak said these things. Instead, it seems someone else from Real Salt Lake heard the remark and reported it.

I can very easily see how a person overhearing someone with a thick Polish accent saying something involving the words "send" and "to" while talking about a black player could misinterpret it as a common racist statement. I hope, for all involved, that this is all that happened.

Sadly, no matter what the outcome from the MLS investigation might be, Nowak and Harris will have a little cloud hanging over them.

For a much fuller and better look at this issue, check out DCenters.



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