Creighton Coach Apologizes for 'Terribly Inappropriate' Remark

Greg McDermott pleaded with basketball players to 'stay on the plantation'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2021 10:30 AM CST
Creighton Coach Apologizes for 'Terribly Inappropriate' Remark
In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Creighton coach Greg McDermott watches the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Creighton coach Greg McDermott apologized Tuesday for urging his players to "stay on the plantation" in a postgame locker room talk following a weekend loss. In a statement posted on Twitter, McDermott said he used a "terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss." McDermott, who is white, acknowledged saying: "Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation." The comments came after the 14th-ranked Bluejays' 77-69 loss to Xavier in Cincinnati on Saturday, per the AP. Creighton has a racially diverse roster that includes several Black players. McDermott said he immediately recognized he'd made an "egregious mistake" and addressed with his team his use of a term evocative of slavery and the antebellum South.

"I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach," McDermott said in his post. "I am deeply sorry." Creighton assistant coach Terrence Rencher, who is Black, tweeted he was "deeply hurt" by McDermott's words. "While my relationship with Coach has been positive and I have never witnessed any racist energy from him, what he said was wrong and insensitive," Rencher noted. "'Plantation' had a dark and hurtful history in my community and cannot be overlooked." A Creighton rep declined to comment on whether players or staff complained to administrators about the remark or why the apology was made public. In a statement, the university called McDermott's language "deplorable" and inconsistent with the private Jesuit school's values and commitment to creating a welcoming environment. The school said any disciplinary action would remain confidential.

(Read more Creighton Bluejays stories.)

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