Larry Dauterive resigned as East St. John High School’s head football coach last Friday. His resignation came after a meeting with the school superintendent regarding his recent racially prejudiced comments.
During his speech to the New Orleans Quarterback Club, Dauterive spoke about what it was like for him as a white man to coach a team of predominantly black players. He considered himself an important role in their lives saying that he is, “the only Papa they got.”
Although it sounds prejudiced to say that a team of black football players come from mostly single-parent families, Dauterive insists that it’s the truth and that it’s hard to ignore. Fabricka Anderson (one of the parents) said, “I think a lot of what he said was true, but it’s not just in the African-American community, and if what he said steps on our toes, than we kind of need to step up.”
Parents and school officials are truly divided in this debate. Many are offended at the insensitive nature of Dauterive’s comments and are calling him racist because of them. Others, like Anderson, aren’t judging so harshly.
Dauterive is a father figure to many of his players who happen to be from father-less homes. Many parents, no doubt, see it as a blessing that their sons have a positive male role-model in their lives and Dauterive simply acknowledged this truth. It’s unfortunate that he spoke with such little couth on the matter. School Board President Gerald Keller says, “My initial reaction was anger but once we got more info, I’m just glad it wasn’t my decision.”
How do you feel about the rise of single-parent families? Surely, it’s not limited to the African-American community. Do you believe that teachers, coaches and other community adults help to bridge the gap that some of these children face? If the decision was up to you, would you have fired Coach Dauterive for making such insensitive comments? Do you think he was wrong to voice such an opinion?
I would love to know how our readers feel about this.