Coach Suspended After Race Comment
Mar. 10, 1999
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A high school baseball coach held up a chain to one of his black students and asked if he wanted to go for a ride, an apparent reference to the dragging death of a black man in Texas, school officials said.
John Decker Jr. was suspended for three days without pay after Beech High School senior Carlos Jarrett complained about the remark to school officials.
``This type of action will not be tolerated in any manner,'' Jeff Helbig, assistant director for Sumner County schools, wrote in a March 4 disciplinary letter to Decker.
Decker has only said the incident ``was all a misunderstanding'' and he has apologized to Jarrett.
According to Jarrett's father, Willie Jarrett, Carlos and a group of boys were leaving school March 1 when Decker, standing by his truck and holding a piece of chain, said: ``Carlos, do you want a ride?''
He was apparently referring to the torture killing in Texas of James Byrd Jr., a black man decapitated while being dragged behind a pickup truck.
The remark comes after a radio shock jock was fired last month from a Washington-area station for making light of the murder.
Doug ``Greaseman'' Tracht said, ``No wonder people drag them behind trucks'' after playing a portion of a song by Grammy-award winning recording artist Lauryn Hill, who like Byrd is black.