Just last year, football coach Todd Peterman of DeSoto High School took his predominantly black team all the way to the state championship... and won. Sounds like a movie, right? However, it looks like the successful Peterman might be looking for a job soon.
The DeSoto ISD school board discussed ending his employment for three hours, and recessed without deciding the popular coach's fate. As the community waits for the verdict, many speculate he's in this precarious position because of race.
You see, he's white and his team is mostly black. This salient detail caused former NFL linebacker Zach Orr, a DeSoto alumnus, to speak out about Coach Peterman's treatment:
The Dallas News mentioned others who shared the same sentiment:
The team's unofficial chaplain, Abe Cooper, told the board and the audience he hoped race wasn't a factor regarding Peterman's status at DeSoto.
"We pray that that's not the case and he will be renewed," Cooper said.
Peterman is white. In 2015-16, 80.4 percent of DeSoto's 2,440 students identified as African-American, according to a report from the Texas Education Agency.
The Dallas News also quoted Orr:
"They act like they can't handle a white man running a predominantly black football team, which is very sad," said Orr, whose three brothers also played for DeSoto. "Me, I want what's best for the kids, our youth and our community. That's what Coach Peterman is."
It says a lot about a coach when his players hold him in high esteem, and that seems to be the case here. Approximately thirty or forty players went to that Board Meeting to support their coach. One senior, Xavier Newman who has signed with Baylor, said, "He's just been a good role model toward me and the rest of my teammates and stuff. Just hearing they were going to fire him and they didn't have a logical reason to fire him, it wasn't right."
Hopefully, identity politics will not prevail -- for these kids, for the coach, and for this nation.
Photo Credit: WBEZ on Flickr