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John Kelly, Oak Lawn Baseball Coach, Suspended Over Whitney Houston N-Word Facebook Comment

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Singer Whitney Houston, the most-awarded female artist of all time, died on Feb. 11, 2012, after struggling with drug addiction for years.
Singer Whitney Houston, the most-awarded female artist of all time, died on Feb. 11, 2012, after struggling with drug addiction for years.

A suburban Chicago man has been suspended for one year from his post as president of a local youth baseball club after he posted on Facebook that he was "so sick of reading about this dumb stupid N***** Whitney Houston."

John Kelly, of Oak Lawn, Ill., was suspended from his leadership role with Westside Baseball of Oak Lawn on Monday during a board meeting. He has also been asked to complete a sensitivity training course and has been banned from coaching for the next year, though he will continue to serve on the group's board.

As Patch reported, the issue came to light after the mother of a former league player, who is black, saw the Facebook post, which has since been deleted, and alerted other community parents and children to it by reposting it on the group's Facebook page.

The post in question went on to read, "she's the dumb ass that decided to do drugs n kill herself stay with that woman beater ... she blew more $$ up her nose than most of ye will make in yer lifetime ... there are kids dying real fathers n mothers fighting for their lives...grow up ye dumb assess...think she'd give a flying f--- about u???? Just saying."

Kelly, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2008 Democratic primary for Cook County Recorder of Deeds, told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday that the matter has "ruined" his life and career as a self-employed tradesman. He claims he is not a racist and that he "didn't even realize I put [the epithet] in until after I sent it."

That said, Kelly stands by the contents of his posting, except for the racial slur. He said he was frustrated by the media's treatment of Houston's death, which he felt elevated her as a role model for children, as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's paying tribute to her.

"I regret using that adjective," Kelly told the Sun-Times. "Does that make me a racist? Are you kidding me? It was the farthest thing from my mind. I have some amazing friends who are black."

The mother who exposed Kelly's posting wishes to remain anonymous but told Patch this week that she felt "betrayed" by the board's decision to not force Kelly to resign from his position.

"I don’t think the punishment fits the crime," she told Patch. "I'm so hurt by this. I thought I was going to get an apology. I told the board members he needs to be removed."

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