Black basketball player who was once jeered by fans wearing blackface didn't believe it was racism
Amid the racial controversy surrounding Covington Catholic School, a pic taken at a basketball match that shows Covington students wearing black paint all over their bodies while taunting a player from the opposite team has been unearthed.
While most people are using the pic as proof the school has a racist background, the black basketball player in the photo says otherwise.
It’s been a few rough weeks for Covington Catholic High School after a group of students earned nationwide attention for allegedly mocking and taunting a native American in the middle of a demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18.
Accusations about the students being disrespectful and racist towards the Native American elder flooded social media, and people have been trying to prove at all cost that the problem resides in the racist culture of the all-boys school, which has an average tuition of $10,000 and which student population is mostly white.
THE CONTROVERSIAL PICTURE
A few days after the controversy erupted, an old picture depicting a group of students at a basketball game added more fuel to the racist accusations against the school. In the shot, a black basketball player stands on the sidelines of the basketball court while some students wearing black paint all over their bodies and faces, and other wearing all black clothes, clearly jeered him.
The photo was taken at a November 2012 game between Covington and the George Rogers Clark High School. It was the season-opening game at George Rogers Clark High School.
The students in black were part of the Colonel Crazies, Convington’s school cheering section. The player has been identified as Charlie Rogers, who was a senior at Clark High School at the time.
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE PICTURE
Now, Daily Mail is revealing that Rogers, who’s currently serving time in jail after shooting a man in a 2014 drive-by shooting, has explained to friends that he didn’t think the action from the crowd was racist, instead, he believes it showed a “spirited crowd in an intimidating stadium.”
Rogers allegedly liked the picture a lot because it showed how he could remain calm and composed despite the taunting from the opposite team enthusiasts. He even wore the photo as his profile pic on social media for years.
This picture is being completely taken out of context. The player in this photo is my former teammate and like a brother to me. He lived with me for ~3 years. He is not being harassed because the color of his skin.— Adam Fatkin (@fatkin42) January 21, 2019
Adam Fatking, Rogers’ former teammate and close friend, also went on a Twitter rant trying to explain that the picture was being taken out of context, telling that the game where the photo was taken was a “black-out game” common in high school sports, and as a result the cheering section was decked out in all black. Is standard practice and other games can be designated as a blue-out, white-out, or red-out.
I’m gonna have to disagree with you that it is a pic of racial profiling. I just don’t see it. Call it me being close minded but I see this as a student in body paint for a black out game. Much the same way you see in college for games that are a Red out, white out, blue out, etc— Adam Fatkin (@fatkin42) January 21, 2019
“They are yelling at him because he is an opposing player throwing the ball right in front of them. This was his profile picture for the longest time. He clearly did not feel as if he was being harassed because the color of his skin,” Fatking told anti-racism activist Tariq Nasheed on Twitter.
“I’m simply saying that you’re taking this picture out of context. You went back and found this picture from 2011 and using it in order to fit a certain narrative. When he used it as his profile picture and posted it on Instagram ~8 years ago no one had any problem then. There wasn’t a problem because everyone looked at it for what it is, a student section yelling at an opposing player, that’s it.”
You can change just about anything to fit a certain narrative if you apply the right light to it.— Adam Fatkin (@fatkin42) January 22, 2019
THE BEGINNING OF THE RACIST ACCUSATIONS
Covington Catholic has shut down all of their social media accounts after receiving threats following the widespread incident in which student Nick Sandmann appeared to be confronting Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha People.
Sandmann and other fellow students were in Washington to attend an anti-abortion March for Life. Phillips was in the city as part of the Indigenous People's March.
Initial footage of the encounter showed the teenager wearing a MAGA cap, smiling and staring straight at Phillips’ face just a few inches apart, while the elder played the drums and said indigenous chants.
The action was taken by many as disrespectful and racist, but longer footage of what went down offered more context to the situation, as Sandmann refused to apologize saying he never disrespected Phillips.
THE TEENAGER REFUSES TO APOLOGIZE
The more extended footage shows four black men, who identify as Hebrew Israelites, throwing insults to the group of students, calling them “ incest babies” and future “school shooters.” Phillips said he stepped in to try to defuse the tension.
"I was absolutely afraid. There was a group of over 200 young, angry white men who were displaying mob mentality, and they were facing down just four black individuals," says Nathan Phillips. "A snap of the finger could have caused them kids to descend on those four individuals." pic.twitter.com/yc8i0SJLPd— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) January 22, 2019
He started playing the drums and was surrounded by the student group. Sandmann says it was Phillips who got in his face, and that he was just standing there and smiling as a way of saying “this is the best you’re going to get out of me, you won’t get any further reaction of aggression.”
“My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d like to talk to him,” Sandmann said on the Today show. “I mean, in hindsight I wished we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing, but I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there.”
“Why didn’t you walk away?” -@savannahguthrie— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 23, 2019
“Well, now I wish I would’ve walked away. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to Mr. Phillips and walk away if he was trying to talk to me.” -Nick Sandmann pic.twitter.com/TMSBsDj6et
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