Last year, WFAA sports reporter Dale Hansen became a viral video superstar after comments he made about Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft (and to subsequently watch his stock plummet, seemingly as a result, leaving him to take his talents to Dancing With the Stars).
Hansen’s comments about Sam were thoughtful, big-hearted, and incisive. But at least part of what made him an Internet sensation is that—frankly—we don’t expect that sort of thing from a guy who looks and sounds like Dale Hansen. White-haired, white-skinned sportscasters from Texas, good ol’ boys with jobs on the evening news, tend to be stereotyped as conservative and reactionary, and that made the impassioned statement that Hansen offered about Sam, and against homophobia and domestic violence, the definition of a man-bites-dog story. Hansen ended up on The Ellen Degeneres Show last February.
Hansen is back in the news now, with a comment about something closer to home: the incident at a Flower Mound basketball game on February 13, in which students at the North Texas school held up signs that read “White” and “Power” side by side during a game against the squad from the considerably more diverse Plano East.
Immediately following the incident, defenders of the Flower Mound students argued that the whole thing was a tragic, sitcom-like coincidence: that the Flower Mound school colors were blue and white, and it just so happened that the two signs ended up next to one another. Lewisville ISD, where Flower Mound is based, debunked that claim in their own investigation of the matter—but Dale Hansen didn’t need them to.
In a statement last night on his broadcast on WFAA, Hansen detailed a previous instance of racial bullying at Flower Mound. His granddaughter, he said, attended games at the school as a student at Lewisville High School and used to hear racist chants from the crowd; he then went on to talk about his own childhood in Iowa, growing up with a racist father who used racial slurs to describe all of the black people he saw on television.
Hansen’s argument, ultimately, is that the parents who defend their children’s behavior as an unfortunate coincidence bear the responsibility of preventing their children from coming up with the idea to hold signs that say “White Power” in the first place. “Kids have to be taught to hate,” he says, and from someone with Dale Hansen’s life experiences it is a hard statement to argue with. Watch the full comment below: