September 25, 2006
In an article published by the website Salon.com, three former UVa football teammates say they recall Senator Allen using racially charged language during his playing days. Now the Senator is firing back, vehemently denying any wrongdoing.
"It is completely false for them to say that that was part of my vocabulary then or since then or now," Senator Allen said.
Once again, Senator George Allen is on the defensive, this time after former UVa football teammates claim he used a racial slur consistently while playing football back in the 1970's.
In a Salon.com article, former teammate Doctor Ken Shelton said, "Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place' . . . He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."
Allen says as a player, performance was the only benchmark.
"You don't care about someones race or ethnicity or religion. What you care about is can they catch, pass, punt, block," he said.
These statements come after a damaging month for the Allen campaign. Back in August, Allen used a racially insensitive comment to describe a Webb Campaign worker. Just last week, controversy swirled around Allen's ethnic heritage.
"He suggested to people through his actions that he was embarrassed about being Jewish. He took a potential plus, turned it into a minus and it's another embarrassing moment from his campaign," said UVa Political Analyst Larry Sabato.
Competitor Jim Webb admits, Allen's miscues have brought this race to the forefront.
"He had a couple of mistakes. I think those mistakes illuminated what we are doing because a lot of people start paying attention to the race," Webb said.
Several months ago the race was being talked about as a runaway. The latest polls show that right now, the race is a statistical dead heat.