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SLATE: Racism overshadows Kansas State’s weekend

But we’ll still talk about sports, we promise.

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a bizarre and tumultous week in Manhattan, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t address it. We’ll get to the sports in a moment, but some things take precedence.

As you’re no doubt aware, earlier this week a vehicle parked in a lot not far from campus was vandalized with virulently racist statements. In the interim, the university has denied the vehicle’s owner is or ever was a student, at least not anyone with the name under which the vehicle is registered, which clashes with reports of the vehicle owner withdrawing from school and returning to California. Indeed, there are some troubling questions surrounding the entire situation, but it’s being taken seriously enough that the FBI is now leading the investigation.

The university’s response was direct, if tepid; words, after all, mean little when a campus which had seen little to no incidents of this nature in a long time seems to have one pop up on a regular basis. Of course, there’s not much more than words that the university can provide until the perpetrators are identified, as the incident took place off-campus. That said, university president Richard Myers has ordered an increase in patrols by the campus police, which is a positive step.

Should the perpetrators be students — and let’s be clear, this could ultimately have nothing to do with the university itself -- they should be immediately expelled. There is no place for this behavior in Manhattan or at K-State. There’s no place for it anywhere, mind you, but it’s especially hurtful as an observer because it represents a degeneration.

A couple of years ago -- in the wake of the situation at Missouri, along with some incidents at Kansas and Ithaca -- I discussed the issue of race relations on campus with reporter and student Andrew Hammond (who features prominently in the Black Student Association’s reaction to this incident), and I asked him at that time if he’d characterize the environment at K-State as “welcoming” to black students. He said the environment was “good” and that the relationship between the administration and the BSA was productive.

Cue this week, where Hammond is now expressing the frustration of an entire class of students. There’s not anger at the administration, but a sense of helpless resignation that the administration can’t really do anything concrete — or, to some minds, won’t.

There is no magic serum to make these problems go away. It can’t be fixed overnight. But that is not an excuse to be inactive, nor to waffle, nor to do anything other than fight. Especially not when the situation is, by any rational measure, deteriorating.

Our message to the black students at Kansas State, and really to any minority there: we’ve got your backs. Every member of this site’s staff condemns this nonsense, and we’re not afraid of losing pageviews if our readership has a problem with it. No student at Kansas State should ever have to fear being targeted by bigots, and even if campus is no longer a safe space, this site will remain one as long as we’re in charge of it.

The irony: today, K-State Athletics was announced as the winner of the Outstanding University Award for Diversity, Inclusion, and Acceptance from Compete Sports, which will be presented at the Eighth Annual Compete Sports Diversity Awards in Kansas City on November 10. That award was earned due to the athletic department’s implementation of a groundbreaking Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

If only everyone in Manhattan deserved such an award.



Kellis Robinett offers his preview of Saturday’s tilt with Texas Tech. He’s about as pessimistic as your benevolent despot.

Kicking the Tires this morning, Tye isn’t as bereft of hope, but he’s also sort of waffling.

Yesterday, Jay Burrous of Viva the Matadors was kind enough to answer some questions for us; Jon did the same for him, and those should be posted sometime today. Keep an eye on the Twitters for that.

In today’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire focuses on K-State’s special teams, which is timely considering that yesterday Matthew McCrane was named one of 20 semifinalists for this year’s Lou Groza Award. While everyone here surely appreciates McCrane, some comparisons to K-State’s previous Groza winner, Martin Gramatica, are in order. McCrane has a better field goal percentage, a better extra point percentage, and amazingly as many field goals of 50 or more yards as Gramatica had... and he’s only three pairs of upraised arms away from breaking Gramatica’s school record for field goals made.

Wow. Imagine if he hadn’t been injured. (Of course, we’d also have to imagine if Gramatica hadn’t been, one supposes.)


Robinett reports on K-State’s quest to find someone to stick in the post, as the other four positions are pretty well set.

There’s a double-header tonight at Bramlage, as both the men and women will face exhibition tests against the Hornets of Emporia State. The women tip at 5:30, the men at 8:10. Both games will air on, with the men’s game also airing on FSKC. We’ll have an open thread and preview later in the afternoon.


Season tickets go on sale Monday, and we sure hope those who buy them get a better return on their investment than they have since that magical 2013.