George Mason University Assistant Basketball Coach Duane Simpkins tweeted he's disheartened by the racist letter Texas A&M head football coach, Kevin Sumlin received Sept. 7, four days after his Aggies team blew a 34 point lead and lost to UCLA.
The letter, tweeted by Sumlin's wife, Charlene, calls the African American coach a n***er and tells him to "get lost or else." His wife asked how "any part of this is ok" with the hashtag #orelsehwhat
Simpkins, who is also black, told me his initial reaction to the tweet was outrage. He added he was, "disheartened and then the other reaction was I wouldn't expect anything less... it's kind of what I expect to some extent. I hate to say that."
The former University of Maryland standout says he believes the "leadership in our country has emboldened a number of people who have hid in the shadows.... and made it ok for people to voice their racist thoughts and even their racist actions."
Simpkins says he's never received a letter like that in his coaching career, but believes coaches should use incidents like this as teachable moments to student athletes, he says, are in a bubble on campus.
"We are teachers first and foremost... now as college coaches we do have a responsibility to teach more than just Xs and Os."
Back to the letter.
Sumlin's wife asked in her tweet if it occurred to the sender that a child might open it. Simpkins said reactions like that make him hesitant to take his wife and children to a coaching job in certain regions of the country where he feels that sentiment is traditional.