Favorite

Coaches: In black and white 

In cases involving employment discrimination, it is my job to prove that my client was treated less favorably than similarly situated white employees, when the person was either terminated or denied a promotion to a particular position. The law defines disparate treatment as when an employer treats some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. When one compares the treatment by the University of Arkansas of Houston Dale Nutt to that of Nolan Richardson, it is easy to conclude that these two coaches were treated differently, on account of their race.

According to Stanley Reed, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Arkansas, the public had lost confidence in Coach Nutt's ability to lead the Razorbacks. It was widely reported in the newspapers, and on talk radio, that Coach Nutt had caused the Razorback nation to be divided. Gus Malzahn's departure, due in part to Coach Nutt's alleged mistreatment, as well as the departure of Mitch Mustain, Damien Williams and others, caused great discontent among the Razorback faithful. There were FOI requests flying, in addition to banners. It is no doubt that due to Coach Nutt's on-field and off-field activities, the majority of the people no longer wanted him. Nevertheless, Chairman Reed stated that the U of A did not want to fire Coach Nutt, because “it would look bad.”

During the press conference announcing Coach Nutt's resignation, Chancellor John White stated that the university wanted to remove the “golden handcuffs” from Coach Nutt. Chancellor White stated that due to Coach Nutt's great service to the university, White would encourage the Razorback Foundation to pay Coach Nutt money (over $3 million) that it really did not have to pay him, due to the fact that he was resigning. Coach Nutt apparently is walking away with close to $3.2 million, and he is free to take another coaching job (which he has), even in the SEC (which he did), without the risk of losing any money. When many fans were expressing their discontent with Coach Nutt, the university circled its wagons around the coach, standing firmly by his side. Chairman Reed stated, “It gets to the point of fairness and equity. We did not want to fire Houston Nutt. He had done a great job at the University of Arkansas… .” In Coach Nutt's 10 years at the U of A, he produced an overall record of 75-48 (61 percent) and a conference record of 42-40 (51 percent). Coach Nutt won one division championship and two co-division championships, but no overall SEC championship, and certainly no national championship.

Coach Nolan Richardson was terminated from the U of A when he made the following statement at a press conference following the Kentucky game: “If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take the job tomorrow” — which, by the way, is exactly what the U of A did for Houston. Coach Richardson was terminated in part because the U of A said that his statement caused people to lose confidence and support for the basketball program, and would cause a negative impact on recruiting. Coach Richardson was not allowed to resign from the U of A, but instead was terminated. The “golden handcuffs” were not removed from Richardson, because if he got another coaching job, he would have been severely penalized from a monetary standpoint, unlike Nutt.

Comparing the conduct of Nutt versus Richardson, one can easily see that Nutt's conduct, both off the field and on the field, did more damage to the university and state, than the statement(s) attributable to Richardson. As a result of the controversy surrounding Nutt, players and a coach left, and highly touted recruits chose not to attend the U of A, yet White and Frank Broyles stood by their man. On the other hand, the U of A cannot point to a single player who left the basketball program or to one recruit who chose not to come to the U of A on account of Richardson's conduct.

Again, according to Reed, the university did not want to fire Nutt, because it would “look bad,” and it would not have been “fair or equitable.” However, Reed and the university did not have any problems firing an African-American coach who had an overall winning percentage of 70 percent; who won the overall SWC and SEC championships; who took a team to the NCAA Final Four three times out of six appearances; who won the school's only national championship in either basketball or football, and whose team was runner-up to the national champions the following year. When it came time to fire an African-American coach, the university did not concern itself with appearance, fairness or equity, proving that race of the coach makes a difference in how they are treated at the U of A.

Austin Porter is a Little Rock lawyer.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Fritz Brantley

  • Words, Dec. 20

    Introducing an old movie on the old movie channel the other night, the host told an old story. The story is untrue, although I suppose the host, semi-old, believed it.
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • He talks, and talks, the talk

    A fellow posted an old newspaper article on his blog about a Mike Huckabee speech to a religious group in 1998. A friend faxed the article to me, then called to ask if I’d yet read it, which I had.
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • Going whole hog

    A Q&A with irreverent Arkansas-raised comedian Matt Besser
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • More »

More by Austin Porter

  • The Trump phenomenon

    The political pundits are scratching their heads as to why Donald Trump is doing so well in his quest to become the Republican presidential nominee.
    • Mar 17, 2016
  • Silence on black shootings

    The shooting of Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth was a tragedy. Police officers put their lives on the line for the people of this country every day. Many are underpaid and are not in policing for the money, but for the opportunity to make their communities and cities better. I am proud of the fact that my son is a police officer, and I pray for his safety constantly.
    • Sep 10, 2015
  • Racial bias in police shootings

    Once again, an African-American male has been killed in Ferguson, Mo., by a white police officer. The killing of Michael Brown, who was unarmed, and attempting to get away from a police officer, is just another casualty in a long line of such tragedies. Brown's killing has raised many questions. But the real question, which everyone seems to avoid, is why do white police officers shoot and/or kill so many unarmed African-American males? When is the last time that a white police officer killed an unarmed white male in the United States?
    • Aug 28, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas condones child abuse?

    If Harrises and Duggars go unpunished, yes.
    • Jun 4, 2015
  • Must address racial inequities

    We mourn for the families of the dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. As we grieve it's time to rekindle a conversation about race in America and press for the changes that the Emanuel congregation championed for centuries — changes that also made it a target.
    • Jun 25, 2015
  • Racism is systemic

    In a speech on Sunday at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Gov. Asa Hutchinson played directly into the narrative of respectability politics, where white people tell people of color how they should respond to a situation and condemn responses from others in the community experiencing anger, rage and other expressions of grief.
    • Jun 25, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • No prison for mentally ill

    Recent research has shown that Arkansas is unique for its fast-growing prison population. The state also ranks among the lowest in the U.S. for access to mental health care. That's why Governor Hutchinson's 2017 budget allotment for the establishment of three crisis stabilization centers should be applauded.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Still wearing white

    On election night, after a long afternoon of poll-watching, I rushed home to change into my white pantsuit with the rhinestone "HRC" on the back and headed out to my local election party.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    • Ozark,

      What are the Arkansans marching and rallying about? Is this an anti-Trump rally?

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Reality TV prez

    • He won't clean up his act. He won't even try. He's clueless that his style…

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Forget identity politics

    • It is, of course, completely false that Hillary Clinton didn't campaign in black communities. Also…

    • on December 8, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation