|Sam Radford Thinks the Zebras Are Racists|
Common Core Task Force front man Sam Radford III is currently touring the state as a member of yet another Andrew Cuomo Coalition of the Clueless. Yes, you can see Sam browbeating parents and student advocates in a few of the videos that have leaked out of these intentionally hard to attend sessions. Sam does his best to smack down anyone who speaks against Common Core and the corporate ed reform agenda. There are pics of Sam posing with ed reform advocate R. Weingarten and another with Albany slimeball Sammy the Rodent Hoyt. If you're lucky you can find one with John King trying not to look like he's wishing he could run for the door and there's even a snappy pic taken with Reformer in Chief Obama. Yes folks Sam looks as though poised to go places in the zany universe of ed reform. From everything we're seeing, the ed reform elites are looking to slide Sam into the next tier of reforminess. But is the face of the DPCC, the anti teacher parent group leader and one time riot starter at ECC City Campus really ready for prime time?
If you've seen the local media you'll know why I asked. Now we all know it's one thing as a local joker and B-Lo gadfly to pop off on different subjects that appeal to your base and give your pals something to hoot and holler about. But when you're parading yourself around the state addressing parents and educators and politicians and presenting yourself as some kind of edustatesman, it seems you should probably try to distance yourself from causes that might shine you in the light of the local quack. In the case of the Bennett Tigers losing a Section VI Class C final game to Maple Grove/Chatauqua Lake due to racist refereeing Sam Radford not only fails to leap clear of the looney spotlight but takes his place center stage and lets it wash over him.
My older sons have played football here in the cornbelt for the past 6 years with Section VI referees. I'd like to say they never blow a call but they do. I've been to a few games where they seemingly blew every call they made. My 10 year old son plays in a little loop league and in one of his games a ref high fived every kid on the other team's line with minutes to go in a one score game. We were stunned to put it mildly but our kids carried the day and came up with the W. Truth be told there were no questionable calls after the high 5 thing but it sure upset some fans (me). That's what refs do. They piss parents off. They piss players and coaches off. They blow some calls. They get some right. They catch a lot of hell for the low paying job they do too. But I don't think I ever saw one putting on his Klan hood after the final whistle.
But for this supposedly emerging player in the state or national ed reform scene to hitch his wagon to a claim that the refs purposely threw a Class C final to a team because it had mostly white kids on it is so ridiculous and so demeaning to people who are truly suffering discrimination I am frankly stupefied that Sam Radford expects anyone to buy his nonsense. It's especially striking that Bennett Coach, Steven McDuffie who voiced some remarks critical of the refs in the post game pressure cooker, has since backed away from these comments and wants nothing to do with Sam Radford's inquiry, protest and complaint. He told the Buffalo News “I have no comment to make on that, I’m moving on to next year. I have no involvement in this.” Likewise, the Athletic Director of Buffalo Schools, Aubrey Lloyd told the News “I know firsthand the character of the people that serve Section VI,” “Our district has always been accepted as equal partners at the section level. I have full confidence in the people and that the concerns brought up will be discussed.” In other words, we're not on board with this accusation either.
In a less conciliatory tone, Section VI sent their legal representative Robert Schreck to Sam's presser outside Bennett. Schreck told The News that no formal complaint has been filed against the association. He was there mostly to hear the news conference. “It’s one thing to disagree with an official’s call,” said Schreck. “It’s another thing to allege that call was made intentionally for some other reason. That crosses the line in my opinion.”
Maybe Sam Radford thinks this will boost his cred and rocket him to greater heights in his newfound milieu among the ed reform's smart set. It could also backfire and show him as a guy who doesn't know when not to pick a fight. Worse yet it could show him as a guy who picks bad fights that are better left alone. Accusing a crew of middle aged high school refs of throwing a game to make the black kids lose is something you'd better be able to prove once you make the claim. The political reality of concussions and head injuries and calls that appear over protective to "defenseless" players is a reality Sam doesn't seem to know very much about. I wonder where he was sitting at the game when the hit took place. Or was he even there? How many other games has he been to this year and how many times has he seen penalties called out of caution to prevent a head injury? I went to a high school game every Friday and a little loop game every Saturday this season and I saw quite a few of these calls. They're part of the game now.
The question we should be asking now is what game exactly is Sam Radford playing? Where was all this fierce loyalty to Bennett High when Sam's friends from ReformEd and Tapestry Charter were trying to steal Bennett and privatize it? It took BTF members and am empirical study done by a local professor to take the bloom off the moldy Tapestry rose. I don't recall Mr. Radford or the DPCC involving themselves in any meaningful way to help Bennett kids keep their school. BTF members were quite vocal but DPCC had nothing to say on the subject.
The News says Sam Radford plans to bring his "Bad Zebra" accusation up again at the upcoming Board of Education meeting. His partners in Ed Reform, Carl Paladino and Larry Quinn have made it known they think public commentary at board meetings is a waste of time. I'll be interested to see if they listen to Sam or go to their iphones.