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The campaign for Senate in Virginia has descended into one of the most mud-filled dirty contests in recent history. Not since the nomination of Clarence Thomas has a political campaign stooped as low as have the supporters of Jim Webb against incumbent George Allen. Ken Shelton, one of Allen's long-time critics and once a college-football teammate of Allen, suddenly recalled -- after several years of opposing Allen politically -- that Allen regularly used a particularly vile racial epithet during his years at the University of Virginia:
"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."
A second white teammate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution from the Allen campaign, separately claimed that Allen used the word "n****r" [redacted by CQ] to describe blacks. "It was so common with George when he was among his white friends. This is the terminology he used," the teammate said.
A third white teammate contacted separately, who also spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by the Virginia senator, said he too remembers Allen using the word "n****r," though he said he could not recall a specific conversation in which Allen used the term. "My impression of him was that he was a racist," the third teammate said.
Allegations this explosive would require responsible publications to get more than one source on the record. Michael Scherer and Salon failed to find even one other source to go public, nor did they reveal that Shelton's political activities put him in opposition to Allen. Instead, they used Shelton and two supposedly frightened and anonymous UV alums to publish these scurrilous charges.
Scherer mentions that other teammates didn't recall Allen as racist, but that glosses over what they had to day in response to these charges. Jon Henke, Allen's New Media coordinator, manages to do what Scherer couldn't be bothered to accomplish -- to get several of them on the record. Not only do they expose this story as a nasty falsehood, they expose Shelton as a liar about how he got his team nickname. Shelton claims Allen called him "Wizard" because a Klan leader had the same last name, but their teammates recall that Shelton had the nickname before Allen ever arrived, and it had nothing to do with the Klan:
Joe Gieck, 35-year UVA trainer: “I seem to recall that Ken Shelton got the ‘Wizard’ nickname for his pass catching ability and before George Allen came to the University of Virginia.”
George Korte, UVA linebacker ‘70-’73: “Ken Shelton received his nickname because of his ability as a tight end to magically get open and catch the football not because he shared someone’s last name.”
Charlie Hale, UVA center ‘70-’73: I have always known him by the nickname, ‘Wizard’. I have always thought the name came from his ability to catch passes … or his ability to somehow get open in the field. Personally I believe that he was a true ‘Wizard’ because he always had the ability to sneak out after curfew and never get caught.”
Doug Jones, UVA defensive back ‘71-’74 and roomate of Ken Shelton: “I was on the University of Virginia football team with George Allen for the 1972 and 1973 seasons. During that time I never heard George Allen use any racially disparaging word nor did I ever witness or hear about him acting in a racially insensitive manner.”
George Korte, UVA linebacker ‘70-’73: “Contrary to Ken Shelton, I have kept up with George Allen the past thirty-five years. During this time, I have never known or heard him use racial epithets to describe blacks either in public or private. … George Allen did not use racial epithets or demonstrate racist attitudes towards blacks in the early 1970s."
Charlie Hale, UVA center ‘70-’73: ““During the 34 years I have known George Allen I have never heard him use racial slurs or derogatory language to describe a person or group of persons.”
It appears that the Democrats and their political allies in the activist and media communities will do anything to derail Allen's re-election, including making stories up about his racism. Not content to leave well enough alone after the "macaca" incident, which Allen handled poorly, they have sunk to using lies and innuendo in an attempt to damage him. And just like the Anita Hill episode, where the supposed outrages occurred far in the past, the mere allegation of his using the N-word will stick with him like glue.
It's an outrage, and Salon for one owes us a big explanation for the fact-deficient reporting of Scherer. Putting out this kind of clumsy and obvious hit piece so close to the election reveals Salon as nothing more than a shill for the Democratic Party and Scherer as its character assassin. One has to wonder what Webb's allies have planned next, after their attacks on Allen's mother and grandparents and this disgusting smear attempt.Sphere It View blog reactions
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