Big Trouble in Denver
This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, December 13, 2001. Click here to order the complete transcript.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Unresolved Problems segment tonight, what is the proper punishment for a racial slur uttered by a public figure? The coach of the NBA's Denver Nuggets said this to a taunting fan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN ISSEL, HEAD COACH, DENVER NUGGETS: Hey pour another beer, go drink another beer (UNINTELLIGIBLE), piece of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Dan Issel has been suspended for four games by the Nuggets, costing him about $112,000. But some say that's not enough.
Joining us now from Denver is Dr. Estevan Flores, the executive director of the Latino/Latina Research and Policy Center at the University of Colorado.
So what should happen to Mr. Issel?
ESTEVAN FLORES, PH.D., LATINO RESEARCH AND POLICY CENTER: Well, I think he should be fired as the president of the Denver Nuggets. I think he should go ahead and remain as coach. I think his lousy coaching job will probably get him fired at the end of the season.
But the presidency is what concerns me. I think he's really abdicated that position by his statement.
O'REILLY: All right. If he is fired, wouldn't that then put your organization and other Latino/Latina organizations in a position where you were seeking vengeance?
FLORES: Well, I think, you know, what's happened now is that the Hispanic community has been meeting, and in fact has set up a list of criteria that they'd like to see the Nuggets comply with.
And one of those has to do with Cronkie (ph), the owner of the Nuggets, making a public apology to the Hispanic community. That's number one.
Number two, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would like to see some bridges built to the Hispanic community in the form of some of the higher-level administrative positions in the Nuggets organization start to become more diversified and include Hispanics.
And, third, that there become -- that there be more opportunities for Hispanic businesses, the Hispanic media, and concessions, et cetera, to play a part in the Denver Nuggets organization.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, I'm not sure what the Denver Nuggets organization is vis-a-vis Hispanics. But let me -- let me give you a scenario. This is what I would do.
First of all, we should say that Issel apologized. He came out. He apologized and, as you know, he's under a tremendous amount of pressure. They're not having a good season out there. He was angry. Somebody said something really nasty to him, and he just lost his temper.
I mean, that's what happened. I don't think -- I don't know the man, but I'm willing to give any American the benefit of the doubt, that people do lose their tempers and they say bad things. And I'm sure you are, too, Dr. Flores, aren't you?
FLORES: Well, sure. And I would accept his apology, and I do accept his apology.
What I think you have to understand is the Denver context. What -- we've had a difficult time here the last two years.
We had in 1999 a wrongful death shooting of a Mexican immigrant, Ismael Mena, that upset the community to a large extent, and we got no redress until after a year and a half.
Also, we've had a situation of racial profiling here where a recent study found Latinos are searched more than non-Latinos when they're stopped.
So there's a context here that has to be taken into account.
O'REILLY: All right, but there -- to be fair, there are also in Colorado a much higher pro forma crime rate among Hispanics than there are among Anglos. So let's be fair that, you know, it's not just a persecution here. It's based on crime data at least.
And I'm not justifying racial profiling, but we need to have those stats out in --
Now here's what I would do. The guy's been fined $112,000 by his team. If I were the pr -- the owner of the Nuggets, I'd give that money to Hispanic organizations -- youth organizations -- to help with programs -- after-school programs, to build facilities, and I'd double it.
See, I'd double it. I'd take Issel's money, and then I'd kick in to make it a quarter of a million dollars, to say, "Look, we are really sorry, and we do respect you, and here's a quarter of a million dollars to do good things."
Would that be enough?
FLORES: I think that's starting to go down the right track, and I think, you know, what I've said and some other folks have said is that in order to build these bridges that one of things maybe the Nuggets need to do is to start an advisory council of Latinos who would help them in this matter. I know that Mayor Wellington Webb has his Latino advisory council, and it works great in order to open communication and be able to talk.
O'REILLY: Yeah, I like that. I like that idea. I think that, from this terrible thing, a lot of good can happen.
But I'm -- I'm just concerned, Dr. Flores. I don't -- because there are -- another Hispanic organization in Denver wouldn't come on tonight, is screaming for Issel's neck. I don't want people to see you as vengeful over what I believe is a loss of temper.
I'll give you the last word.
FLORES: Well, what's going to happen is that the Nuggets will be meeting with the Latino community tomorrow over lunch, and I'll be a member of that group, and I think what we will talk about are just some of these points, and hopefully -- I think the money that you mentioned is a very positive aspect. There are a lot of groups doing good work in the Latino community.
O'REILLY: Sure. Absolutely. And that's the Nuggets' responsibility.
Hey, Doctor, let us know how that meeting comes out. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.
FLORES: All right.
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