Former Athlete Accuses School of Discrimination

By: Matthew Simon
By: Matthew Simon

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Monday, Sept. 26, 2005

Two years ago a now Valley Center senior says he was cut from the basketball team because of his race.

As a freshman, Joe Garvey played junior varsity basketball under former coach Wayne Morrow and Garvey’s attorney says after his sophomore year tryout the now senior expected to make the team.

“He did not make it, even though he was more qualified,” says Lawrence Williamson, Jr., Garvey’s attorney. “There are certain documents that coaches are supposed to fill out to evaluate students. His weren’t filled out.”

Garvey's mother filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of her son and other minorities. In the lawsuit Garvey says the reason he didn’t make the team, in short, is that he’s Hispanic. He calls his former coach a racist and says school officials allowed discrimination and never did anything to stop the unfair selection process.

School attorneys say it had nothing to do with racism. Garvey didn’t make the team because of a lack of athletic ability.

“He sat down with him and said these were the reasons why you were cut and explained to him things he might need to work on,” says Richard Olmstead, Valley Center’s attorney. “So to suggest it might be his race that’s a role, it just comes back to there’s not anything to suggest this.’

Garvey’s attorney says he can present evidence proving racism. Garvey is standing up for every Valley Center minority.

The federal lawsuit is likely to drag out for a long time. It could be well after Joe Garvey graduates from high school before the suit’s settled. Garvey’s lawyer says he’ll stick this out because he wants to see a change in the system. School lawyers say they’re confident this lawsuit will eventually be thrown out.

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