FORT SMITH, Ark. (TB&P) — The family of a former University of Arkansas at Fort Smith student basketball player who alleged race discrimination by a UAFS coach says they do not think the university has handled the situation properly.
On Sept. 2, UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley informed the UAFS community of an allegation of race discrimination had been reported by a former player against the university’s head basketball coach.
A letter by Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Williams and Tyler Allen Williams, a former UAFS student and basketball player, was posted on Facebook Aug. 31. The letter described what the Williamses called a racist act by Coach Jim Boone in regards to the Tyler Williams “dreadlocks” hairstyle. Williams, from Edmund, Okla., was a guard and the second-leading scorer for UAFS for the 2018-19 season.
In the posted letter, Williams and his parents said Boone, who was hired as the coach to replace Justin Bailey, who resigned in March, told Williams he did not like hair like his and he would not recruit players who had hair like his. In his 2018-19 roster photo, Williams sports chin-length dreadlocks that are pulled back from his face. The post noted that because he was a senior, Williams would not be required to change his hair. In the letter Williams’ parents stated the whole hair issue was racist, because it is Williams’ natural hair.
“Boone is attempting to enforce grooming policies that disproportionately affect people of color, particularly black people,” the letter noted.
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