Jun 6, 2014 12:47 AM by Alex Labat

Mississippi Journalist Bashes Lafayette, Apologizes After ESPN 1420 Interview

Many in Lafayette are fired up today over controversial comments about Lafayette, made by a Mississippi State beat writer.

That writer was working in Lafayette last weekend, for the NCAA Regional at the Tigue, when the Cajuns beat Mississippi State.
In a radio interview today, he made it clear he did not have a good time, even saying Lafayette is the worst place in America.

"That was the worst experience I've ever had as a beat writer...I'm not going to go as far as Brian to say that they're not people, but I don't know what they are. Because I can't understand them when they talk. It's like me being in Barcelona, I can't understand what they're saying," said beat writer Matthew Stevens.

Cajuns are unintelligent, unsportsmanlike, and un-American? In just six minutes, Stevens, a Mississippi journalist, skewered Lafayette and its people, setting off a firestorm on social media.

But it didnt take long for the man voicing his opinion to go head-to-head with the voice of the Ragin' Cajuns, who asked the most important question of the day.

"My first question to you. What in the hell were you thinking?" said Jay Walker, with ESPN 1420.

"We wanted to give him an opportunity to say, 'Hey, look, this was wrong. I got carried away, this reflects on everybody. My employer, my mom and dad.' He did say that he said, 'I embarrassed my parents today'," Walker said.

Walker has been covering the Cajuns for 22 seasons, and by all accounts he's the voice of the Ragin' Cajuns.

"First of all you had wonderful things to say about the food. After that, everything kind of went downhill," said Walker.

And while many say his interview with Stevens was fair, Walker did not pull any punches.

"There were some comments that were made that could be described as racist," said Walker. "If you would have taken Cajuns, and inserted Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics or Jewish people, and suggested they were the missing link, there would be an unbelievable outcry. But Cajuns are a culture as well."

And while Stevens has apologized, and the Cajun community has largely forgiven him, Walker says now that the Cajuns are winning, comments like this come with the territory.

"Some people just don't like it. Because it's not happening to them this year," said Walker.

And if you're Cajun by birth, or by choice, you're also proud to call Lafayette home.



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