Former Gainesville High School star Deshaun Watson, now an NFL standout with the Houston Texans, says he’s not worried about a racist online post by an East Texas school superintendent who wrote: "You can't count on a black quarterback," in the comment section of an article.
Lynn Redden is superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District in the Piney Woods, about 75 miles north of Houston. In his post in the comment section of a story written by the Houston Chronicle and posted on Facebook, Redden referred to the last play of Sunday's game in which Watson let the clock run down before completing a pass to DeAndre Hopkins in a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Redden's full post read: "When you need precision decision making you can't count on a black quarterback." It was quickly deleted, but not before another reader took a screenshot of it and sent it to the newspaper.
Texans coach Bill O'Brien was asked what he thought about the post.
"I really don't want to waste a lot of time responding to outdated, inaccurate, ignorant, idiotic statements," he said. "I'll just let Deshaun (Watson's) proven success on the field, his character off the field, speak for itself. He's one of the greatest guys I've ever coached. He represents everything that's right about football, about life."
"His teammates respect him, his coaching staff respects him, and in this day and age, it's just amazing that this B.S. exists," O'Brien continued. "But it does. But we're moving forward."
Watson took a different tact, saying he didn't waste any time worrying about what Redden posted.
"That's on him," he said. "May peace be with him. I worry about me, so I'm not worried about what he has to say."
Watson, who is in his second year with the Texans after leading Clemson to a national championship in the 2016 season, did acknowledge that he's dealt with racism throughout his life. But he added that he can't let it bother him.
"It's part of life," he said. "I can't control what other people what their beliefs are. I can control what I can control. I just focus on me, and that's it."
Watson was then asked if he believes Redden should be fired.
"That's not my job," Watson said. I don't make that decision."
The Onalaska school board will convene a special meeting on Saturday to discuss Redden's contract. The board also released a statement on Tuesday night condemning his post.
"Onalaska ISD regrets that an inappropriate comment has been attributed to the district's superintendent," the statement read.
"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."
Redden told the Chronicle that he believed he was sending a private message when he posted the comment and told the newspaper that he based the comment on what he called the "limited success" of black quarterbacks in the NFL.
Texans superstar defensive end J.J. Watt said he didn't want to give Redden or his comment any attention but did voice his support for his quarterback.
"I think it's a very ignorant comment that doesn't deserve any more play than it should get," Watt said. "It's very unfortunate. But I trust him, I trust him a whole lot. We all trust him a whole lot."
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