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Dori: Cancel culture forces volunteer coach to resign over a few words

(AP Photo/Bullen Chol)

We have something in the world these days called cancel culture. A person publicly says something that others take offense at, and then that person and everything to do with them has to be shunned by the entire “woke” crowd.

I want to get your take on one involving a volunteer high school basketball coach at Wapato High School in Wapato, a town on the Yakima Reservation. The assistant coach has now resigned over, as the media puts it, “a controversial racist video” that he made. As a former high school basketball coach myself, my ears perked up when I heard that story, and I looked into it.

KIMA News in Yakima said that a video online “appears to show him making racist remarks.” I was curious as to what these “racist remarks” could be, so I watched the video.

The entire “controversial” part in the video is about two seconds long. He sniffs the air outdoors and says, “Smells like Natives lightin’ one up.” That’s it.

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Is that racist? “Natives” is not a racial slur for Native Americans. “Lightin’ one up,” I assume, is a reference to smelling weed in the air. Smoking pot is legal, so there is nothing defamatory about saying that someone is lighting up a joint.

I am incredulous that this video is what forced this guy to resign. Is that all it takes to lose your job in 2020 — and to be branded a racist? A television station called this young man a racist based on six words he said. Those six words now must define his life? KIMA News and the other Seattle stations that picked up this story now have the right to judge this man — who, by the way, appears to be Latino — as racist?

I wanted to learn more about this young man whom the media has branded racist, so I went to his YouTube channel, where he has uploaded quite a collection of video blogs over the years. He grew up in Yakima and went to Davis High School, then Central Washington University, and Northwest University in Kirkland. He has a really sweet video about his pride in his city, showing drone shots of downtown streets and City Hall. He also has childhood videos of his mom feeding him with a bottle, and of his first Fisher Price basketball hoop. Then I watched a high school video — this kid has one of the sweetest 3-point strokes I’ve ever seen. There are even more videos from his college years.

So this kid grew up in Yakima, went to Northwest University for two years to play basketball, and now lives in Yakima again, where he was volunteer coaching at Wapato High School. He looks like he is in his early 20s, and just seems like a sweet young man. He wants to give back as a volunteer coach, which is a thankless job. I had some awesome volunteer assistant coaches, and I can tell you that those people have passion. They are willing to spend 20 to 25 hours a week coaching without a penny in pay, all because of their passion for the sport.

But now, because of cancel culture, he’s a racist and gets fired. I guess it was dumb to record himself making that statement and then post it to his channel, but he probably didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Like I said, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. It was just a statement about a smell in the air.

He had to record an apology video. It breaks my heart. This kid sounds like a broken young man, all because he said six words that I don’t think anyone could definitively say classify him as a racist person. But he is being beaten down by the mob. People are trying to destroy this young man who seems to live a really good life.

What is happening here? One sentence now defines his life?

We reached out to the young coach, but he did not wish to come on the show. Part of me wants to tell him that this is going to pass, that it might seem like this maelstrom has no end in sight, but that in a few days, the mob will move on to someone else. However, I also unfortunately know that this will follow him anytime that a potential employer Googles his name. Do you know what I would advise him to do? I would advise him to sue that television station for using the word “racist” to describe his words.

I’ll tell you one other thing. I’ve seen this kid’s story — this volunteer high school basketball coach in Wapato — on news sites all over Washington and even in other states. His story is on more Seattle news sites than the story of the Capitol Hill restaurateur who celebrated the death of the father and 9-year-old daughter. When a father and daughter in South Carolina died in a hunting accident, Lana Kiossovski tweeted, “1.5 less MAGAbilly’s in the world. At least they died supporting their beloved 2nd Amendment.”

That was the most hateful, vile tweet I’ve ever seen, yet is being completely ignored by the media. The restaurant owner put the word “MAGA” in her hate tweet, so the politically correct Left had to give her cruelty a pass.

You have a story in our own city about a business owner in Capitol Hill acting gleeful about a shooting death of a father and his child, but that isn’t news — apart from KTTH’s Jason Rantz, who broke the story, our show, and a few conservative news outlets. A high school basketball coach in Wapato, who made a dumb comment, though, that’s newsworthy.

This is the latest example of the politically correct Left that thinks nothing of destroying someone through cancel culture. I know you can create an image of yourself online, but based on what I saw, this kid does not deserve what is coming down on him right now.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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