clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Closer Look At Mary Willingham's Role As UNC Whistleblower

Mary Willingham has more to say on her motivation as a whistleblower. According to her, some very tall UNC graduates won't be able to read her account.

Someone at UNC fell down on the job.
Someone at UNC fell down on the job.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a longer and deeply unattractive look at the UNC scandal and what Mary Willingham did, and, more to the point, why. Former Chancellor William Friday played a significant role.

Instead of death threats, she should have been getting job offers and thanks for trying to put a stop to a particularly venal sort of exploitation.

Part of what makes UNC and the basketball program so respectable is the history of doing the right thing when it came to denouncing and fighting segregation and being way out front on integration compared not only to the rest of the ACC but to the state in general. This should never be forgotten.

But the exploitation by the football and basketball teams makes a mockery of truly brave behavior.

Remember that up until the very late '40s, arguing for racial equality was profoundly dangerous across the South, and for Dean Smith, who many, including Art Heyman, saw as a joke early in his career, had no job security when he started advocating for Civil Rights. He just did what he knew to be right.

Now? What's happened at UNC is a disgrace and a stain on that legacy.