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Thompson: Defending Against Racist Charges ‘Idiotic’

From United Press International

Georgetown basketball Coach John Thompson said in an interview released Monday it would be “idiotic” for him to defend himself against accusations that he is anti-white, and added blacks sometimes question whether he is “black enough.”

Thompson also addressed in the Gentlemen’s Quarterly interview his players’ contact with drug kingpin Rayful Edmond and his own battle with illiteracy.

Race-related accusations against Thompson stem from the fact nearly all his players at Georgetown have been black. Blacks question Thompson because of his 19-year association with a school that is nearly all white.

“I’m not going to get down on my knees and say ‘I’m not a racist,’ ” Thompson said. " . . . That’s the most idiotic and degrading thing I could do.”

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Thompson, 49, said that when he was a teen-ager, people told him he was mentally retarded.

“When I was 14 years old, I still couldn’t read,” he said. “That was the most degrading, humiliating experience of my life.”

Thompson has compiled a 429-143 record at Georgetown with a national title in 1984.

The key to that championship was Patrick Ewing, whom Thompson protected from reporters.

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“I caused that problem by putting myself in a situation where we were restrictive (in allowing media access),” Thompson said.

On the meeting in which he told Edmond to stay away from his players, Thompson said, “Rayful didn’t want any harm to come to any of my players. And I wanted to make sure no harm came to them--including guilt by association.”

Edmond, sentenced in February to life without parole for his drug distribution activities, met socially with center Alonzo Mourning and at least one other Hoya.

“Rayful understood me and I understood him because there is honor in guys like Rayful,” Thompson said. “At least I know what his rules are. It’s the guys in suits and ties that give me problems sometimes. I have a hell of a lot more trouble figuring out what rules they play by.”

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