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A Story By John Ed Bradley That Will Make Your Hair Standup

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Boom_70, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Another gem by John Ed in this weeks SI on former SW Louisiana basketball coach Beryl Shipley. Reminds me of the story he wrote on Charlie McClendon.


    Shipley coached in the 60's when there was still segregation in parts of the South.

    The 60's were not long ago. Really hard to believe how ignorant people were at that time.

    SI buried that article and I almost missed. There was a time when stories like that would be in SI cover as opposed to a story on The NBA
  2. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Boom, people are still ignorant, they're just ignorant about different stuff.
    You're right about SI, but it's been Sports Marketing magazine for three decades at least.
  3. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    I'd hazard a guess that this story would never have been written if John Ed Bradley hadn't lived right there where and when it happened. We're fortunate that a good story-teller like him just happened to do so.

    The theme of opportunism of recruiting blacks when no one else would has been illustrated in other so-called precedent-setting situations (Haskins himself, I believe? Bear?). I appreciate the fact that Bradley didn't sugar-coat the pathetic crusade Shipley went on to clear his name through the book. In the end, Shipley comes across as a principled person who saw beyond race, and it's an honest and genuine portrait.
  4. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    I grew up less than an hour from Lafayette, less than two from where John Ed grew up. I saw those teams play. Saw Bo Lamar light up my hometown college team, saw crowds pack Blackham Coliseum, was astonished to see the Cajuns reach No. 4 in the polls and get on the cover of SI. The most popular chant in my hometown was "Go to hell, USL, go to hell." Their version, phonetically, was "Go to hell, Mac-Neese, go to hell." It was a great rivalry in football, and the likes of Lamar, Roy Ebron, Andrew Toney, Joe Dumars and John Rudd (who had a cup of coffee with the Knicks) made basketball games between the schools exciting to watch.

    Years later, as a sportswriter, I'd hear the arguments on both sides for Shipley's induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He's never been elected, and every year as he grew older (and ill), the debate grew more intense. I suspect the next meeting of sportswriters who vote on candidates will be more emotional than ever. I also think John Ed's story just might help push Shipley into the hall.

    Great piece. It's not easy to talk or write about growing up in such a racial climate. People who grew up in more enlightened areas sometimes tend to paint with a broad brush about the South, and John Ed's kind of candor about 1971 can affect the way people with different life experience perceive you in 2011. This was a piece that pushed a lot of buttons for me and brought back a lot of memories all over the spectrum. I almost didn't read it, because part of me didn't want to read it, but I did because I knew I had to. Wondered what your reaction would be, Boom, because of how much you enjoyed "It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium."
  5. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    These halls of fame can be tricky and sticky ventures, can't they?

    Thanks for the tremendous first-hand insight and detail about this complex story, JD.
  6. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    JD - I was hoping you would jump in and add some further perspective. You did not disappoint.

    Bradley is an amazing writer.

    This part really stuck me:

    "I must've been six or seven years old when it happened. I was swimming in the shallow end of the pool, and suddenly the old lady who ran the place started blowing her whistle and yelling for everybody to get out of the water. We were hysterical, slipping and falling on top of each other as we scrambled for the safety of the dressing rooms. The way we carried on, you'd have thought the head of Godzilla had appeared in the sky above the trees. The girls went to one side of the building, the boys to the other. I heard the police sirens. Then I heard the screams of the troublemakers when the police subdued them with clubs and handcuffs and dragged them away."
  7. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    It's not easy for me to say my initial reaction to that scene was not one of shock but of painful recognition (of the spirit, if not the letter of it). The better feeling was remembering how much progress has happened since then, even if there is still a long way to go.
  8. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    That's why that story has to be written, and read. In its own way, it documents the evolution of attitudes and the possibility of growing beyond what someone is fed from many sources, culturally, as a kid. It would be naive and ignorant to say that racism is being conquered in the US, but every time a story like this is told, I like to think that it makes a difference.
  9. Raiders

    Raiders Guest


    "Coach had an agenda," says Ivory. "He wanted to win. He didn't care if we were purple. He was going for the best athletes. I mean, I don't think it's all that heavy. He was dealing with a wrong, anyway. 'Why don't you have black athletes on your team?' 'Well, because they're black.' That argument can't hold water. So he finally decides he's going to get them. What are the circumstances? 'Well, Coach, we're going to ruin you.' 'You're going to ruin me? How long will it take for you to do that?' 'Oh, not long. About 10 years.'"
  10. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    I think Larry Fogle, who later won an NCAA scoring championship at Canisius, was also at USL at that time but transferred when the USL program was put on probation. Canisius also subsequently got out on probation, for payments to Fogle and other players.

    Sam Gilbert could bankroll the whole UCLA program without a penalty but the little guys had to pay the piper.
  11. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Fogle indeed played for the Cajuns. Good recall, micro.
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