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Buffs player suspended for sending racist e-mail

DENVER -- A University of Colorado football player has been
suspended and his girlfriend, a cross-country-track runner, has
quit the sports program after being accused of sending a racist
e-mail to a Hispanic cross-country runner, the school announced.

The e-mail included a reference to dragging the man behind a
car, recalling an incident in 1998 in Texas when a black man was
dragged to his death. The two athletes were cited for harassment
and ethnic intimidation.

A news release from athletic department director Mike Bohn on
Sunday made no mention of the e-mail.

It said Clint O'Neal, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound starter and senior
offensive tackle from Weatherford, Texas, was suspended for
violation of team and athletic department rules. Bohn did not say
how long the suspension would last. Colorado plays Clemson in the
Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 27.

He said Jackie Zeigle, a junior from South Jordan, Utah, had
told the university she was quitting the cross country and track
programs for personal reasons.

Bohn said privacy rules prevented the disclosure of any other
information in the case other than to say the decision on O'Neal
was made after several meetings over the past few days.

O'Neal is not listed in the telephone directory, and someone who
answered a number listed for Zeigle picked up the phone and hung
up.

The suspension announcement comes three days after football
coach Gary Barnett was ousted. In addition to losing his last two
games by a total score of 100-6, the program had endured a sordid
recruiting scandal in which sex was allegedly used to entice
athletes to come to the school.

Meanwhile, a police report said O'Neal and Zeigle, who are both
white, sent the typo-filled message to Greg Castro. It called
Castro a "river rat" and "border hopper" and "bean eating
peace of [expletive]." The message suggested O'Neal would drag
Castro behind his car.

There have been several racially tinged incidents in Boulder
over the past year. The message was sent from O'Neal's account on
an Internet portal for college students that requires a university
e-mail address.

A black student government leader received an e-mail last month
that threatened her life, prompting a campus police investigation
and student rallies.

In February, those attending the Big 12 Conference on Black
Student Affairs reported racist remarks, staring and poor service
at an area restaurant. A student of mixed race heritage was
assaulted during the spring semester as he walked near campus and suffered a broken jaw.

Police said O'Neal told them he was upset after his team lost
the Big 12 championship game 70-3 to Texas. He told Zeigle to use
his account and write the message. Zeigle told police she was
retaliating against her teammate because he is obsessed with her
and harasses her.

Police said Castro told them he felt threatened by the message
and slept at a friend's house. He told the Daily Camera he doesn't
harass Zeigle.

Both Zeigle and O'Neal are scheduled to appear in court on Dec.
19.