Texas Superintendent Sparks Outrage After Saying ‘You Can’t Count on a Black Quarterback’

A school superintendent from East Texas is under fire after posting a racist comment to social media following the Houston Texans loss this weekend.

Superintendent Lynn Redden, of the Onalaska Independent School District, took to Facebook on Sunday to express his frustration following the Texans’ 17-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans, which saw quarterback Deshaun Watson hold the ball as the game ended. But when Redden commented on a link to a Houston Chronicle article about the game, he left a racist message he thought was private.

“That may have been the most inept quarterback decision I’ve seen in the NFL,” Redden wrote Monday morning about Watson’s performance at the end of the game. “When you need precision decision making you can’t count on a black quarterback.”

A screenshot of the comment was published by the Chronicle after it was flagged to them by a reader.

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Redden’s office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In a phone interview with the Chronicle, Redden said he “regrets” making the remark and deleted it when he realized it wasn’t private. The superintendent insisted that he didn’t mean for the comment to come off as racist, and was instead referring to what he saw as the “limited” success of black quarterbacks in the NFL.

“I wish it had never been posted,” he said.

Racism has long marred the league’s most popular position. A study cited by the Washington Post found that black quarterbacks are often seen as “talented and strong” and white players in the position are considered “smart and hard working.”

White starting quarterbacks have also outnumbered their black counterparts in the NFL for many years. While there are a few high-profile black quarterbacks in the league today — like Cam Newton and Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson —  the percentage of black players in the position only increased from 18 percent to 19 percent during a 14-year span in the NFL, The Undefeated reported.

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On Tuesday, Watson told reporters that he isn’t worrying himself over Redden’s comment and that he has learned how to deal with racism.

“That’s on him,” Watson said, according to ESPN. “May peace be with him. I worry about me, so I’m not worried about what he has to say.”

He added:  “But I’m all about love, [so] I don’t focus on [any] of that. I love all people. And that’s what I focus on. It’s part of life. I can’t control other people and what their beliefs are. I can control what I can control, so I just focus on me, and that’s it.”

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The Onalaska school board said they will be holding a special meeting this weekend to discuss Redden’s future.

“Onalaska ISD regrets that an inappropriate comment has been attributed to the district’s superintendent,” the statement to the Chronicle reads. “The OISD does not condone negative comments or actions against any race. The district values every individual and therefore the district will take the appropriate measures to address the situation expeditiously and completely.”

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