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June 09, 2016 11:58 AM UTC

Tell Us How You Really Feel, Jack Graham

  • 3 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Ryan Frazier fires back with indignation we believe is heartfelt:

—–

Jack Graham.
Jack Graham.

The Denver Post has been running bio pieces on the Republican U.S. Senate primary candidates all week–mostly recaps of what our readers already know, but today’s profile of former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham by Post reporter Mark Matthews documented a moment from Graham’s past that’s raising eyebrows:

Another controversy Graham faced at CSU began with a meeting that he and head football coach Jim McElwain had with several former CSU student-athletes who are black.

Accounts of the meeting vary, but several sources said Graham or McElwain were demeaning to these alumni when asked what they were doing to improve graduation rates for black players at CSU — and claim Graham or McElwain said smoking marijuana is part of black culture…

Full stop. Say what? To be clear, Graham says nobody said that. But if they did, apparently he’s defending it?

Instead, Graham said in a recent interview that the discussion centered on the drug policy within CSU athletics.

“Jim McElwain and I had been spending a lot of time (talking) about whether or not that policy was fair and effective. His concern was that we had a lot of kids coming into our program that were from inner urban cities from the South where the practice and tradition of smoking marijuana in that culture happens at a very early age. [Pols emphasis]

“And that was a fact that he and I talked about at length and what we can do to deal with that fact because the last thing we wanted to do is to bring a student athlete into Colorado State University and apply a set of standards that were unreasonable that we would be unable to comply with within our time frame because it takes about six months to get marijuana out of your system,” Graham said.

Now, maybe it’s not the right time to point out that not-really-diverse Colorado has one of the highest rates of marijuana smoking in the nation–especially now that marijuana is legal. At the very least, this whole discussion is anachronistic now that marijuana has been legalized in Colorado. And at worst? Well, there’s a lot of stereotyping going on here about “urban cities from the South” that really should not be. Including in this updated explanation.

From the read of Matthews’ story Graham had lots of problems at CSU, including the allegations of mismanagement that resulted in his termination. This is the kind of anecdote that could add a distasteful element to Graham’s he-said she-said human resources matter.

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