Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer has come out to defend some members of the fraternity involved in a racist video that sparked on-campus protests Monday.
While speaking with KWTV in Oklahoma City, Switzer said he believed it was unfair many members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were being labeled as racists when they had nothing to do with the video. Switzer is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
“It hurts me because I’ve got a vested interest in this," Switzer said, while fighting back tears. "As I said, I’m an SAE and I know the kids in this house. I spend some time over here and I know what they’re like. Hey, I wouldn’t put up with that crap either and they don’t either and they don’t believe in it.”
The University of Oklahoma severed ties with Sigma Alpha Epsilon on Monday and shut down its fraternity house. Switzer said he supported the university's decision to "pursue swift actions," but said anyone who labeled the entire fraternity as being racist was guilty of saying the same thing as "what those kids said on that bus."
"If that happened and that occurred that’s no different than what those kids said on that bus," Switzer said. "Throw a blanket over these kids that are here and say that they’re bigots? That’s unacceptable."
Switzer, 77, coached at Oklahoma for 16 years, winning national titles in 1974, 1975 and 1985. After his career with the Sooners, he coached the Dallas Cowboys for four seasons, winning the Super Bowl in 1996. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Last year, Switzer was criticized when he said in a radio interview that "I'd never recruit a white quarterback."