Sunday, November 27, 2005

New Mexico State football coach accused of religious discrimination

According to ACLU attorney George Bach, New Mexico State University football coach Hal Mumme had his players recite The Lord's Prayer after every practice and before every game. Three of the team members were Muslims. When Mumme saw them praying differently from the other players, he asked them what they were doing (apparently Mumme lives in a cave and has never been exposed to any information about the outside world). They explained to him that they prayed differently because they were Muslims.

According to the lawsuit filed by Muammar Ali, the team's star running back, things got bad after that incident. Muume called Ali in for a private meeting, and questioned him repeatedly about Islam and its ties to al-Qaeda. Following the meeting, Ali says his coach never spoke to him again. Ali's role on the team became smaller and smaller until he was cut completely. The other two Muslin team members were cut, also.

This is not the first time Mumme has been involved in an incident that smacks of wrongdoing. When he was the football coach at the University of Kentucky, the school was placed on probation for three years and had its football scholarships stripped because of three dozen recruiting violations. Mumme then resigned from the university.


While this story sickens me, it doesn't surprise me. I've been a fan of college football for nearly fifty years, and the NCAA's hypocrisy is legendary. I'll be very surprised if you see any mention whatsoever of this story in the "national press". The football season is building to it's multi-billion dollar climax and this sort of story just isn't good for business. I listen to SportsCenter on ESPN on a daily basis and have heard absolutely no mention of it. Imagine that...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 AM  

Oh, it's a big secret alright. But, as you say, that's to be expected.

When the last president of SLU, down the road from me, left to head the state's education department, the first thing the new people did was bring football back. This was not a good decision because it took decades to turn SLU into a good school, and not having football helped; it's just too small a school to be putting money and energy into a football team (but don't get me started on that subject).

Anyway, what was the first thing they did? Hired Mumme, fresh off the Kentucky scandal. At least he didn't do anything stupid (that I know of) while he was at Hammond. He left that to the other staff members.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

One of my daughter's friends (at a huge Albuquerque high school) was captain of the soccer team, until the coach told her unless she "got on her knees and prayed" with the rest of the team she was no longer captain.

But Suzie's mom was an attorney, and after the AD refused to do anything, they went to the ACLU.

After the story hit the papers, Suzie got hate calls. She ended up spending her senior year as an exchange student in Italy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:41 AM  

Bob, someone said that SportsCenter did cover the story and there was a GameDay feature about it. But it sounds to me like the coverage was still probably limited.

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