Swofford Runs Cynicism Up Flagpole, No One Salutes

Tim McGheeCorrespondent IIIJuly 8, 2009

18 Mar 2001: Beneath the old Confederate States flag the the 'stars and bars'' a fan watches the racers flash past the wall during the NASCAR Winston Cup Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at the Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina. Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle/ALLSPORT

The one thing that stands between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hosting the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament and not hosting the tournament is the Stars and Bars of the old Confederacy.

“Old” is the operative word because, in my opinion, I’m pressed to come up with a flag that is more irrelevant.

The NAACP has boycotted the state of South Carolina since the year 2000 because the confederate flag flew over the state capitol, below the state flag and Old Glory.  To those of African-American descent, the Stars and Bars represent racism and hatred.  To some of the citizens of South Carolina, it’s a symbol of heritage.

If “heritage” involves slavery of humans and lynching of blacks, I think I’ll stick with the heritage of backward West Virginians purported to have toothless grins.  That’s a better image by a long shot.

The trouble is with ACC Commissioner John Swofford.  Instead of displaying leadership necessary to respond to the conflict, Mr. Swofford pulled a Pontius Pilate.

Years ago, he announced that the tournament will be held in Myrtle Beach, leaving it up to the State and the NAACP to work it out.  Now, how far do think that got?  And, what did Mr. Swofford expect?  He washed his hands of the mess, blaming it on the two entities and their failures to resolve the problem.

He tried, he essentially told the Associated Press, but there was a “miscommunication”.  Mr. Swofford is acting as if he did not realize this impasse is almost a decade in its duration.

To South Carolina’s credit, the state has attempted to solve the situation by moving the flag from the capitol.  It now flies on a flagpole carried by the statue of a Confederate soldier in front of the capitol.  The NAACP was understandably acrimonious with the effort.  I’ve seen where it now resides.  The Stars and Bars is placed more prominently.

The denizens of South Carolina think they had it bad when in a press conference Governor Mark Sanford called his Venezuelan girlfriend his soulmate.  However, their cynical insistence to keep the Confederacy alive impedes progress.  Talk about backward.