Penn State coach offers his take on black athletes

Updated: November 4, 2005, 3:48 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A week after Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry was publicly reprimanded for insensitive comments about black athletes, Joe Paterno did not shy away from the topic of race during Tuesday's Big Ten coaches teleconference.

At one point, the topic of the teleconference turned to the increased scoring in the Big Ten this season. After first mentioning that improved indoor practice facilities have helped the conference recruit kids from warm-weather climates, Paterno offered a supplemental explanation.

"You have to be careful the way you say things sometimes," the Penn State coach said. "Poor [Air Force coach] Fisher DeBerry got in trouble, but the black athlete has made a big difference. They have changed the whole tempo of the game. Black athletes have just done a great job as athletes and as people in turning the game around."

Last week, after a 48-10 loss to TCU, DeBerry noted that TCU "had a lot more Afro-American players than we did and they ran a lot faster than we did.

"Afro-American kids can run very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well."

DeBerry was reprimanded by Air Force's superintendent and issued a public apology for his remarks.

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