More confirmations surface on George Allen’s racism

By BOB LEWIS

A noted political scientist joined one of Sen. George Allen’s former college football teammates in claiming the senator used a racial slur to refer to blacks in the early 1970s, a claim Allen dismisses as "ludicrously false."


Larry J. Sabato, one of Virginia’s most-quoted political science professors and a classmate of Allen’s in the early 1970s, said in a televised interview Monday that Allen used the epithet.

Sabato’s assertion came on the heels of accusations by Dr. Ken Shelton, a radiologist who was a tight end and wide receiver for the University of Virginia in the early 1970s when Allen was quarterback. He said Allen not only used the n-word frequently but also once stuffed a severed deer head into a black family’s mailbox.

Allen’s campaign released statements from four other ex-teammates defending the senator and rejecting Shelton’s claims.

Christopher J. LaCivita, an Allen strategist, said Allen and Sabato were not friends nor did they associate with each other in college.

"Larry is obviously relying on words he heard from someone else," he said. "We believe it’s completely inaccurate."

Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, would not tell The Associated Press how he knew Allen used the n-word. He told Chris Matthews on MSNBC that he did not know whether it was true that Allen used the word frequently while in college.

"I’m simply going to stay with what I know is the case and the fact is he did use the n-word, whether he’s denying it or not," Sabato said.

Allen, a Republican, has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008. Questions about racial insensitivity have dogged him during his re-election bid against Democrat Jim Webb.

Allen’s use of the word "macaca" in referring to a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent in August prompted an outcry. The word denotes a genus of monkeys and, in some cultures, is considered an ethnic slur. But the senator insisted he did not know that and had simply made up the word.

Allen vehemently denied that he used the n-word.

"The story and his comments and assertions in there are completely false," Allen said during an interview with AP reporters and editors. "I don’t remember ever using that word and it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary."

Shelton said Allen used the n-word only around white teammates.

Shelton said the incident with the deer head occurred during their college days when he, Allen and another teammate who has since died were hunting on a farm the third man’s family owned near Bumpass, Va., 40 miles east of the university.

Shelton said Allen asked the other teammate where black families lived in the area, then stuffed a deer’s head into the mailbox of one of the homes.

"George insisted on taking the severed head, and I was a little shocked by that," he told the AP. "This was just after the movie `The Godfather’ came out with the severed horse’s head in the bed."

Shelton said he came forward because of Allen’s presidential prospects and the "macaca" incident.

"When I saw the look in his eye in that camera and using the word `macaca,’ it just brought back the bullying way I knew from George back then," he said.

Shelton described himself as an independent who has supported Democratic and Republican candidates. He said he regretted that he had not spoken against Allen in the early 1980s, when he first entered politics. Shelton said he began writing down his recollections as Allen’s career "ascended to heights I never could have imagined."

Other former teammates rushed to the senator’s defense.

Charlie Hale, a college roommate of Shelton’s and an Allen campaign volunteer, said that he had hunted often with Allen, and "there was not even a rumor on the team" about the alleged deer incident.

Doug Jones, another Allen campaign volunteer who said he had roomed with Shelton, also dismissed the allegations. "I never heard George Allen use any racially disparaging word, nor did I ever witness or hear about him acting in a racially insensitive manner," he said.

Another former teammate, Gerard R. Mullins, said he recalled nothing racist about Allen.

"George had a strong personality, and I guess that’s why he was a quarterback," Mullins, who is not close to Allen, said in a telephone interview.

Allen was sometimes confrontational with teammates, he said.

"He would kind of pick on everyone a little just to get a reaction," said Mullins. "From a football standpoint, if you were black or white it didn’t matter. If you dropped a pass, he’d have something to say to you."

Shelton’s claims came a week after a debate in which Allen bristled at questions about his Jewish ancestry. Allen later acknowledged publicly for the first time that his grandfather, a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, was Jewish, and on Monday he said both his maternal grandparents were Jews.

Explaining his initial reaction, Allen has said his mother swore him to secrecy when she told him about his ancestry last month.

Allen’s father, the late George H. Allen, was a legendary football coach with the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins. Allen transferred from the University of California, Los Angeles, to Virginia when his father took the Redskins job.


7 Responses to "More confirmations surface on George Allen’s racism"

  1. Lexie Homewood  September 26, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    What kind of mother would swear you to secrecy about being half Jewish, especially since she herself is Jewish? Why would it matter at all, unless you had a bunch of anti-Semites among your supporters? Geez.

  2. John Hayes  September 26, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    I dislike Allen intensely, but am always suspicious when years later people say a candidate used slurs, or took secret political views, or other accusations that cannot be proved or disproved. However – he did not just make up the word macaca – what a baldfaced lie – he just comfortable in his aryan brotherhood rally and the word came out. Even more damning – his incredible reaction to being…”discovered” may be the best word…to have Jewish heritage – in his racist worldview, this is something he clearly is having trouble with, even if he also realizes it may give him political cover. A truly creepy person – but as Doug Thompson pointed out, his racism is characteristic of today’s Republican party.

  3. K-Man  September 26, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    All the discussion about Macaca Allen’s racist words and actions only serve to energize racist white people and increase the voter turnout for him. Welcome to America and it southern racist behavior – called the rethugilican southern strategy; believe me, I lived through the racist behavior of white people in the 60’s and 70’s (not mention 80′, 90’s on and on). We endured some of the nastiest behavior you could imagine. Macaca Allen is hypocrite and liar. It is time for all good people to stand for what is right and fair.

  4. ebbtide  September 27, 2006 at 2:41 am

    Sabato is pretty conservative. The fact that he’s quoted as confirming this is enough for me.

  5. Danny Adams  September 27, 2006 at 2:59 am

    Forget Allen’s owning a Confederate flag–I’ve known plenty of people who owned one and weren’t racist. But at the same time he used to also keep a noose in his office, which he never denied or explained. Somehow I don’t think he held onto it out of fond memories of Judge Roy Bean.

    And since when does being the son of a “legendary football coach”, as his supporters keep pointing out, have squat to do with his qualifications?

  6. Kris  September 27, 2006 at 4:59 am

    Just because at one time or another Allen uttered the stupidly named “n-word”, does not mean he is a racist. How many people can HONESTLY say that they have not used that word or other so-called derogatory words at one time or another? I have many friends – good friends – of other races and faiths. Yet I’ve uttered those words, and if trut be told, so too have they. Are we racist? I don’t think so. Are people too sensitive about labels? I think so.

  7. A High School Classmate  October 3, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    I don’t know about Mr. Allen’s college days, but I did attend the same High School as he did. Palos Verdes High School in California. I was a freshman on the track team when he was one of the senior captains. The incident that I’m aware of was immediately prior to a big basketball game that we had with an all black school in our league. Morningside H.S. When I arrived at school on the day of the big game there was grafitti sprayed all over the walls and sidewalks of the school with racial eptitaphs such as “kill whitey”. The game was cancelled and about a week later I became aware that Allen was suspended from school, and the track team, for his involvement in the incident. There was a lot of talk at that time that he might lose his college scholarship.

    Of course, this doesn’t prove that he was, or is, a racist, but he was certainly promoted racism, even at an early age. Remembering what I saw, and the fear that I felt, on that day, I would be very inclined to believe the current allegations of racism from him that are alleged to have occurred in the years immediately after that.

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