It may have been mailed from a Houston country club.
Sports has a magical way of bringing people together regardless of their race, cultural background, or socioeconomic status. But sadly, given the insidious nature of racism, sports has yet to become a safe place where fans and athletes can be free of bigotry.
Within the past year, New York Giants’ player Nikita Whitlock’s home was vandalized with a variety of racial epithets. LeBron James’ house was also tagged with a racial slur, and Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos received racist hate mail in response to his national anthem protest.
Photo by Shutterbug459/WikimediaCommons.
The most recent act of racism directed at a major sports figure to be publicized was against Texas A&M’s head coach, Kevin Sumlin. On Thursday, Sumlin’s wife, Charlene, tweeted the picture of a letter mailed to the family’s home. The letter read, “You suck as a coach! You’re a n----- and can’t win! Please get lost! Or else.” The letter was in response to a 45-44 season-opener loss to UCLA, and the return address shows it may have been mailed from a Houston country club.
(Side note: What type of sociopath uses the word “please” in a threatening racist letter?)
Sumlin’s daughter, Shelby, also responded to the viscous act:
Imagine being a kid & reading this bs abt your dad. Things "fans" say gets taken personal by more than just the coach. Humanity isn't hard. https://t.co/ueLMcycL9e— Shelby Sumlin (@ShelbySumlin) September 8, 2017\n
The letter is deeply disturbing not only because of its hateful bigotry but because it was sent directly to Sumlin’s home. The cryptic message “Please get lost! Or else” can only be seen as a threat to Sumlin and his family. Although Kevin Sumlin has yet to comment on the issue, Texas A&M president Michael Young and athletics director Scott Woodland released a joint statement condemning the hatred:
“Earlier this evening, we became aware of a letter of unknown origin that was sent to the Sumlin family home. We unequivocally condemn this disgusting and threatening letter. There is no excuse for hatred and, as a community, we will not allow the ignorance of some to intimidate any member of our community. On behalf of all Aggies, our thoughts are with Coach Sumlin and his family, and we will do all that we can to ensure their safety. We are working with law enforcement authorities to bring the sender of this letter to justice. We stand with the Sumlins and will not accept this inexcusable act of hate.”