The Savannah State Incident

By Dexter Rogers, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 20, 2010

Robbie Wells

Robbie Wells

INDIANA (BASN) — ESPN’s Jemele Hill recently did an interesting story about a possible case of racism on “Outside The Lines”. It was a story about a head football coach who asserts he was fired because of his race.

You see, Savannah State is a historically African-American college. Former head coach Robby Wells asserts he was forced to resign because he’s white.

Wells was the first white head coach hired in school history. Upon his arrival Wells said of the football program, “It was in shambles.”

Before Wells was hired Savannah State hadn’t sniffed a winning season since 1999. In the beginning Wells suggests he was pleased to be in Savannah. He really felt comfortable and felt he could turn the team around.

Wells stated, “They rolled out the red carpet for me.” Wells’ team tallied a 5-7 record during his first year and everyone was very optimistic. Suddenly going into the second season things began to change.

Wells started a weekly television show about the football program all on his own. His co-host on the show was his fiancé who is African-American.

Wells alleges the administration informed him his days could be numbered and he wouldn’t be embraced in the community by having his fiancé on the show. Apparently she didn’t have a lot of television experience.

Wells said he was told by the administration, “You’ll never be able to reach the people of Savannah because you are white and your fiancé is black.”

Wells’ team faltered during the second year going 2-10.

Such a dismal record didn’t help his case in trying to keep his job.

Wells met with the administration twice regarding the state of the football program before he was finally forced to resign in late January.

The administration asserted Wells wasn’t fired because of race but because of possible NCAA infractions.

It was asserted by the administration they were aware of possible NCAA infractions but they weren’t tied directly to Wells. The coach suggests he was told to resign or be fired.

He believes he was forced out because he was white and his fiancé was African-American. Wells said the administration, “tried to shift the focus from what this is really about.”

According the ESPN report Wells intends to sue the university. He stated, “Somebody has gotta stand up for what’s right.”

Is there really such a thing as reverse racism?

The short answer is no and here’s why. If all the assertions to the story are true it’s very unfortunate to say the least. Racism in any form is not right. But this isn’t a case of racism.

My take on the Wells situation is race possibly played a factor but I cannot vehemently assert Wells was a victim of racism. Racism is a diabolical disease where economic, political, judicial and social powers are in the hands of a select group.

Those who control the latter utilize their stature to aggregately oppress others.

The consummate example of racism would be the rise of American slavery. A select group of individuals and groups controlled others by way of dominating the economics, politics, legislation and socialization of this country.

Based on the ESPN report race appeared to factor in when Wells and his fiancé appeared on the television show together.

From that point he seemingly fell out of favor with the Savannah State administration and reasons were manufactured to force Wells out.

Savannah State doesn’t have the capacity to exude racism in its purest form yet it has the capacity to possibly discriminate. Everyone has the capacity discriminate because it has to do with choice.

Racism on the other and has to do with aggregate power and control. If anything Wells was a possible victim of discrimination. But discrimination is a mere component of racism.

Based on the historical development of this country and the definition of racism Savannah State cannot be characterized as racist.