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March 20, 2006


chris snyder

Chris Jackson, now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, was a college basketball superstar and NBA star who was fully legit on legit's own terms - never fell into the inspiration or tokenism stereotype you mention. Truly a "real player on a real team". But you know, people certainly did "take notice" and were aware of the whole story of who he was. And it's ridiculous to hope for the day when people don't take notice of our differences - that's what makes people interesting; we're all different. So we find those differences interesting and we do notice them and we always will, and we always should - that's the beauty of being human. But I don't mean to be overly extreme; I understand your point. With Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf it was always about his game first, second, and third. That was the story. Nothing else was ever overplayed, only played as it colored in who he was as a human in 3 dimensions, like us all.


Simply unbelievable..that anyone would criticize this story. Especially without know any of the facts which is obvious. Kathy Snow is another "do-gooder" who is only interested in stirring up controversy to serve her interests. She asks,"where was Jason educated? Was he "allowed" in regular ed classes, alongside basketball team members and other students without disabilities?" The answer is, YES, Kathy. it's called "streamlining" and it was one of the bigger parts of this story. The media has educated many people on the many degrees of autism and put focus on the streamlining programs used in Rochester area schools. Jason did attend regular classes at Greece Athena. As to the question, "why didn't reporters press the coach on Jason not making the team." If the writer had done her research she would have found that Jason did play on the Jr Varsity team, but quite frankly wasn't very good (not that he didn't try hard). Jason tried out for the varsity team, but this is a school with tremendous student athletes. They did, in fact, win the championship this year. Jason was just not good enough to make the cut. (Should they have not cut him because he was autistic?). Yes, Jason can shoot a three pointer now and then in practice (so can I and I stink!), but no 5'6" player is going to make a varsity team in this area unless they are a tremendously gifted ball player. Jason simply is not.. except on one very special night. Which is, in part, what made it so special. Give it a break people. See the story for what it is - A child who achieved far beyond his wildest dreams. A community of friends who have always supported him and treated him like their own son. An event that has opened people's eyes to what is possible, when heart and desire can overcome any obstacle. This story would still have been special if Jason didn't have autism. If this were just some small kid who tried his whole life and was finally rewarded it would still be a good story ("Rudy is a good example). But being autistic made it more wonderful because it taught people an important lesson. It removed stereotypes and opened peoples eyes. Jason was not put in the game because he was autistic. He was put in because he had worked very hard as the team manager and the coach wanted to thank him by making his dream come true. Simple as that. At Greece Athena and all the schools in the Rochester area, there are no children with disabilities. Only children who have special needs. Jason is one of many who attend regular classes every day. They may be given extra help by tutors and aids, but otherwise these children are treated no differently than any other. To insinuate otherwise is an insult to those many in our community who work so hard to ensure every child is given the help they need. This story has given many parents of autistic children (like myself) something they desperately need... hope.
The students, athletes, parents and even the media have shown Jason nothing but respect and kindness. So please take your soapbox somewhere else.

Rochester, NY


Kathy, I agree with you! If Jason loved basketball, I'm sure it was tough for him to sit beside his peers & wonder why he couldn't play in a game.As a mother of a child with a disability I know first hand the feelings these children suffer. If they wanted to do him a favor they would have let him play every game.He had the talent, he had the enthusiasm.He should have had the right to play just as everyone else, Who are they to give favors? What a joke. Dianna


I have a special ed child who love basketball, has the drive and determination to play. Although he made Varsity, cause I guess he made the cut, well come to a surprise, my son hardly got to play, they had a championship game he never got to play, he shows up for practice all the time. there has been several games he didnt play. The caoches word at the basketball meeting before the season start. "I play all players" well that wasn't true. Its got to the point my son wants to quit a game he so loves cause the coach is not playing him, and is not treating him differently. My son awarded his coach the *my hero award* some hero huh. A coach who is now treating my son different.

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