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As the facts emerge from the fog of rumor surrounding the now-notorious episode of the lacrosse team at Annapolis, three things appear definite. First, it is self-evident that the Naval Academy was primarily at fault for its discrimination against colored athletes, a symptom of its prejudiced attitude toward the Negro race in all matters. Second, Athletic Director Bill Bingham was guilty of hasty judgment in acceding to Admiral Willson's demands. Third and most important, there must be some measure taken so that a similar incident can not happen at Harvard again.
In the past Bingham's record with the Negro athlete has been among the best in the country. An example is his attitude at the time of the last Olympics when he permitted the use of Soldiers Field for the tryouts of colored track stars and thereby gave them a chance to enter the Berlin games. Then when race prejudice showed up at the Games themselves, he was the sole member of the governing board to resign in protest.
But Mr. Bingham's attitude in the present instance does not jibe with his record. His stand on the Annapolis incident is now a matter of history, but the question is by no means dead. What will happen next year if the lacrosse or any other team returns to Annapolis with a colored player on the roster? What will happen if the Navy football team, on the other hand, comes to Cambridge next fall to find a Negro on the Harvard squad?
It has long been the boast of the Harvard athletic director that no boy should be forced to sit on the bench because a better athlete was being paid to play in his place. Now is the chance for him to enlarge on this boast. The team which was put in the field against the Navy last week did not represent Harvard, for one of its members who had earned his right to play was refused that right because of his race. Mr. Bingham should guarantee that this will never happen again.
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