Maddox tells NAACP she was treated unfairly

Updated: January 5, 2005, 2:09 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE -- The NAACP plans to ask the University of New Mexico to look into concerns by former sophomore point guard Fatima Maddox about how coach Don Flanagan treated her.

Maddox, who was averaging 5.5 points, 2 rebounds and just over an assist a game, quit the team late last month. She had started in seven of the Lobos' first eight games, then was benched by Flanagan and did not play in the Lobos' 56-27 win over New Mexico State just before she quit.

Maddox, considered the quickest member of the team, was disciplined by Flanagan but he would not say what she did to lose her spot in the starting lineup.

"That's something in-house and it's just one game,'' he said at the time.

Maddox often beat defenders with her quickness but also was inconsistent. She had eight turnovers last month in the Lobos' 61-45 win over then-nationally ranked Arizona State.

Maddox, from Colorado Springs, played in 31 games as a freshman.

When she left, Flanagan announced only that she had decided to withdraw from the University of New Mexico, adding: "We wish Fatima the best in whatever she decides to do in the future.''

She met with Albuquerque NAACP members Sunday, and the organization announced it would ask UNM President Louis Caldera to investigate the women's basketball program.

Joe Powdrell, chapter president, said the request was based on complaints from Maddox and "incidents involving past UNM African American basketball players who left for unclear reasons.''

Flanagan said he welcomed the NAACP's involvement.

Caldera, in a statement Tuesday, said he had invited Powdrell to meet to discuss any concerns and invited Maddox to talk about her experience as a UNM student and a member of the team.

The university has received no formal complaint against the program, he said.

"Nevertheless we want to address the concerns raised by the NAACP in the press as expeditiously as possible,'' Caldera said. "If there is something there, we will deal with it. If not, we want to clear the program's name. We do not want unspecified allegations to impugn the integrity of a program that has been held in high regard locally and nationally.''

Harold Bailey, director of the state Office of African American Affairs and former president of the Albuquerque NAACP chapter, said Maddox at Sunday's meetings voiced "concerns about being treated differently than the non-black student athletes.''

Powdrell said he would write Flanagan and other UNM officials, outlining Maddox's concerns and asking for a meeting with the coach to discuss perceived inequities in discipline of athletes.

Caldera said UNM is proud of its diversity.

"We have clear policies against unfair treatment of students and many avenues for students to bring complaints,'' his statement said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press