Bobsled Athlete Not Offended by Coaches' Costumes

An original member of the Jamaican bobsled team reportedly called one of the coaches involved

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    A new voice is weighing in on the controversy involving Serra High School employees who painted their faces black while dressing up as members of the Jamaican bobsled team.

    Devon Harris, a member of that original Jamaican bobsled team, which inspired the movie “Cool Runnings,” told NBC 7 Monday that he was not offended.

    Bobsled Athlete Not Offended by Blackface Pic

    [DGO] Bobsled Athlete Not Offended by Blackface Pic
    When three Serra High School employees painted their faces black while dressing up as the Jamaican bobsled team some called inappropriate and offensive. But, the actual Jamaican Bobsled team apparently doesn't see it that way. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013)

    The controversy stems from a picture posted online of two white coaches with painted black faces.

    The picture, taken at a private Halloween party, led to intense media coverage and a lot of online debate. Some called it insensitive, inappropriate and racist given historical associations, while others claim the entire situation was blown out of proportion.

    Parents React to Serra HS Suspensions

    [DGO] Parents React to Serra HS Suspensions
    Two of the three Serra High school employees who were suspended over a Halloween costume controversy involving black face makeup returned to the field Friday. Parents of Serra High students shared their thoughts about the suspensions with NBC7's Dave Summers. (Published Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013)

    Harris appears to be in the latter group.

    Harris relayed part of the conversation to the Daily Mail: “I said to him ‘Listen, I think the only people you need to be worried about offending are the guys on the sled and at least three of us, cause I didn’t speak to Michael White about this, but certainly three of us are by no means offended.”

    A San Diego Unified District spokesperson confirmed Basteyns, assistant football coach Howard Seeley and a third district employee were suspended two days without pay as a result of the photograph.