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When Eric Ramsey cried racism, Mike Pelton cried foul

Former Auburn defensive back Eric Ramsey was causing controversy on the Plains even before coming forward about his pay-for-play relationship with Auburn boosters.

The graphic the Auburn Plainsman went with in a June 1991 article on Eric Ramsey's allegations of racism. Note: One helmet is black, the other is white.

In June 1991, Ramsey wrote a sociology term paper about the “living hell” he endured as a black football player at Auburn. The paper alleged that Auburn coaches were “racist and condescending to black players” and that Sewell Hall, the athletics dorm, was segregated.

Former Auburn defensive tackle and current Auburn defensive line coach Mike Pelton had no idea what Ramsey was talking about

“I don’t agree with Eric,” Pelton told the Auburn Plainsman in 1991, his freshman year. “We pick our own rooms or they are assigned by position or hometown. Everybody gets an equal chance. I hadn’t really noticed any racism on the team.”

Pelton wasn’t the only one.

“Everybody loves everyone around here,” Lou Priester, a white junior wide receiver, told the Plainsman. “We get along fine. We’re like one family.”

By 1991, black and white players had been living together in Sewell Hall for more than 20 years.

“Eric was a great guy,” Priester said. “I don’t understand where he was coming from.”

Corey Barlow, a black junior defensive back, didn’t care where Ramsey was coming from, or where he was going.

“Eric is gone,” Barlow said. “We’re just trying to get on with the season.”

Related: Keep it Down Home, Stud: The romance novel covers of Eric Ramsey.

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About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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