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Sunday, January 28, 2007


January 27th, 2007 - In a recent movie, "Glory Road", about the first NCAA basketball team with an all-black starting line-up to win a championship, a scene depicted Kentucky Wildcat fans taunting African-American players with Confederate flags. The problem, since the movie was supposed to be based on real events, was that the incident never occurred. When confronted about the deception, the movie producers simply said it made for a better story.

The Associated Press ran a story recently - which was carried nationally and internationally - about a small high school basketball team that was going to boycott a game against Floyd County Kentucky's Allen Central High, because of Allen Central's use of the Confederate Battle Flag and Confederate Soldier mascot, and the fans taunting an African-American player in last year's game with Confederate flags.

Was this really life imitating fictionalized art? It turns out that the story source was Ned Pillersdorf, a transplanted New Yorker who has decided to live in Floyd County, and who is a volunteer basketball coach for the tiny private David school which was supposedly to boycott Allen Central for the flag waving. Pillersdorf specifically claimed that Allen Central fans at last year's game had taunted an African-American player on his team with Confederate flags when he shot free throws, and that his players had voted to boycott this year's game. For some reason, Pillersdorf hadn't complained about anything last year, and had waited until after the Associated Press ran an article about Allen Central's Confederate mascot to announce a boycott by his school.

It turns out, though, that Pillersdorf's flag-taunting incident was just as fictional as the one in "Glory Road". The problems for Pillersdorf began when David school officials held a press conference to announce that there was no boycott, and that Pillersdorf hadn't gone through channels to ask for one. This means that the AP reporter who worked with Pillersdorf to create the boycott story didn't corroborate it with school officials, a basic requirement of journalism, before sending the inflammatory story over the wires.

It got worse for Pillersdorf, though, when the Allen Central athletics director pulled the records from last year's game, and the records showed that the player in question hadn't shot any free throws in that game. That problem for Pillersdorf's story was nothing, though, compared to when his own players spoke. They revealed that they had not wanted to boycott the game with Allen Central, and hadn't been allowed to vote on it, and even supported Allen Central's use of Confederate symbols.

Finally, the African-American player in question in the flag-taunting story drove the ultimate stake into the heart of Pillersdorf's fabrications when he flatly stated that the incident never happened.

Eventually the two school principals decided to postpone the game, with all the emotions that Pillersdorf and the media had created over the fictional flag taunting.

It's bad enough that a movie would pass off such a fabricated event as real, but Ned Pillersdorf pretending that such a thing happened in real life isn't just making a "better story" to make some sort of personal statement of his dislike for Southern heritage; it was disruptive to the community. It cannot be allowed simply to pass. The Kentucky Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans demands that Ned Pillersdorf apologize to his school, Allen Central and the folks in Floyd County for his actions, and the SCV further demands that the Associated Press run a correction story, and apologize for its part in running an uncorroborated fabrication.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a genealogical, historical and educational organization comprised of male descendents of honorably discharged Confederate soldiers, sailors and marines. Founded in 1896, the SCV has over 32,000 members, and in Kentucky there are 27 local chapters called camps.


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