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Va. senator denies using black racial slurs in '70s

RICHMOND, Va. -- Senator George Allen yesterday denounced as ``ludicrously false" allegations from a former college football teammate that he frequently used a racial slur to refer to blacks in the early 1970s and that he once stuffed a severed deer's head into a black family's mailbox.

Allen's campaign also released statements from four other former teammates defending the senator and rejecting Dr. Ken Shelton's assertions . Shelton leveled the allegations against the former University of Virginia quarterback in an article published Sunday in the online magazine Salon.com and during an Associated Press interview Sunday night.

``The story and his comments and assertions in there are completely false," Allen said at the AP interview . ``I don't remember ever using that word, and it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary."

The Republican has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, but questions about racial insensitivity have dogged him during his reelection bid against Democrat Jim Webb.

Allen's use of the word ``macaca" in referring to a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent in August prompted an outcry. The word denotes a genus of monkeys and, in some cultures, is considered an ethnic slur. But the senator said he did not know that and had simply made the word up.

Shelton, a Hendersonville, N.C., radiologist who played for the university in the 1970s, said Allen used the black racial slur only around white teammates.

Shelton said the deer head incident occurred during college when he, Allen , and another teammate , who has since died , were hunting on a farm the third man's family owned near Bumpass, Va.

Shelton said Allen asked the other teammate where black families lived in the area, then stuffed a deer's head into the mailbox of one of the homes.

He said he came forward because of Allen's presidential prospects and the ``macaca" incident.

``When I saw the look in his eye in that camera and using the word `macaca,' it just brought back the bullying way I knew from George back then," Shelton said.

Other former teammates, including Doug Jones, rushed to the senator's defense.

Jones, an Allen campaign volunteer who said he had roomed with Shelton, dismissed the allegations: ``I never heard George Allen use any racially disparaging word."

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