Via Salon, Michael Scherer hits Republican Senator George Allen with the "nigger" smear, even though the vast majority of fellow teammates from Allen's college football days do not support the claim. But it appears there could be more to the story of the lone identified accuser, Dr. Ken Shelton.
Over the past week, Salon has interviewed 19 former teammates and college friends of Allen from the University of Virginia. In addition to the three who said Allen used the word "nigger," two others who were contacted said they remember being bothered by Allen's displaying the Confederate flag in college, but said they do not remember him acting in an overtly racist manner. Seven others said they did not know Allen well outside the football team, but do not remember Allen demonstrating any racist feelings. A separate seven teammates and friends said they knew Allen well and did not believe he held racist views. "I don't believe he was insensitive," said Paul Ryczek, who played center in Allen's year before joining the Atlanta Falcons. "He had no prejudices, biases or anything else."
In addition to supporting a Democrat through financial contributions, which Salon acknowledges, evidently Shelton didn't tell Salon of his role in starting Tobacco Free For Life.
Why that might matter is because Allen opponents have criticized the Senator for being friendly to the tobacco lobby. Senator Allen, (R-VA), has accepted a whopping $33,000 from tobacco political action committees in just the 2005-2006 election cycle. Thats more than any other member of congress has taken from the tobacco companies in the past year.
Tobacco Free for Life (TFL) is a grass roots volunteer coalition of educators, health care professionals, survivors and victims of tobacco-related illness, and concerned individuals. Our mission is to prevent and reduce underage tobacco use through education, awareness and community efforts on a "cost free" basis to the youth and community of Henderson County.
TFL started in 1996 by Dr. Ken Shelton of Hendersonville Radiological Consultants and is currently operating out of an office on the Pardee Hospital campus. Pardee Hospital Foundation acts as TFL's fiscal agent and provides TFL with 501c3 nonprofit status.
Interesting that Shelton claims that an Allen Presidential candidacy is what made him so suddenly concerned as to begin writing down recollections several months ago. Exactly how much prodding did his memory require if this was so significant at the time?
About four months ago, when he heard that Allen was a possible candidate for president in 2008, Shelton began to write down some of the negative memories of his former teammate. He provided Salon excerpts of those notes last week.
With nothing other than anonymous sources to support Shelton's claim and the vast majority of relevant individuals contradicting the story, it might better serve Scherer if he could produce a witness without a possible political motivation. Even sources that acknowledged Allen's fondness for a Confederate Flag in his college days stated they saw no signs of racism from Allen.
two others who were contacted said they remember being bothered by Allen's displaying the Confederate flag in college, but said they do not remember him acting in an overtly racist manner.