ORANGE - An ESPN article about NFL star Earl Thomas' ties to Orange is stirring controversy in the community after the small town is profiled as a racist city.
In the article the city of Orange is called "…one of Texas' most palpably inhospitable regions for black people..."
The small town is also slammed for having no natural beauty due to petrochemical and lumber industries.
"I don't think the article in anyway represents Orange or Orange county very well, I think there were a lot of things taken out of context," said county judge Brint Carlton.
Orange County Judge Brint Carlton argued there are nice spots for nature like Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. He said there also plenty of places to fish in the city like the Boat Ramp off Simmons Dr.
He emphasized racism is an issue across the United States and believes it isn't fair Orange is being highlighted as a racist city.
"Orange county is not unique in dealing with those issues the city of orange is not unique the state of Texas is not unique, we try to be better and everyone tries to be better but we are certainly not some haven of racism in the state of Texas," said Judge Carlton.
Sean Sam, who is employed in Orange said he believes there is racism in the city but believes it’s a nationwide issue.
However, he said he feels like he’s seen an improvement over the years.
"I think the new generation are more about getting out and learning who people are and learning about different cultures for themselves instead of going on what grandma or their grandparents say,” said Sam.
The article also discusses the Confederate memorial off Martin Luther King jr. Dr. but Judge Carlton wants to emphasize that the memorial was built on private property and is not in the city's control.
"It’s on private property and people have freedom of speech in the nation and they can say what they want it’s just not something I think is representative of the city and of orange county," said county judge Brint Carlton.
Sam said he believes there is more than just sports to Orange and said she is optimistic about the future of the city.
“It’s always going to be places where there is segregation but here I think you know it has a place here that can develop and grow and change,” said Sam.
Read the full ESPN article here.
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