Sometimes in the heat of the moment, certain impassioned words and/or phrases tend to slip out that turn out to be super regrettable actions. Such is the case with Creighton University’s men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott, who said some things after his team’s loss that he undoubtedly wishes he never uttered.
On Saturday, the Creighton basketball team lost to Xavier with a score of 77-69. While the team debriefed in the locker room postgame, McDermott’s remarks included insensitive statements which motivated him to publicly apologize on social media on Tuesday night.
“On February 27th, after an emotionally tough loss on the road, I addressed our student-athletes and staff in the postgame locker room and used a terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss,” McDermott said in a statement released via Twitter. He then went on to specify the comments in question. “Specifically, I said: ‘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.’”
I’m sorry. pic.twitter.com/tE6thM1aRc— Coach McDermott (@cucoachmac) March 2, 2021
McDermott says that in that exact moment that he knew he had made a terrible mistake. “I immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with my team,” he admits. “I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach. I am deeply sorry. I have apologized to our student-athletes and to our staff, as well as to President [Daniel] Hendrickson and Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen.”
He continued, “Over the last 72 hours, I have engaged in multiple difficult conversations with student-athletes, staff, parents, and University administrators and I realize the pain that my words have caused. For that, I sincerely apologize. I am committed to ensure that this will never happen again and am using this as a learning experience. While there remains work to be done and trust to earn back, I appreciate our student-athletes’ honesty and will maintain an open dialogue as we grow and learn together.”
Creighton University as well issued a separate statement, speaking against McDermott’s “deplorable” language that is “inconsistent with the university’s values and commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.”
Statement from Coach Rencher pic.twitter.com/nwk1MA1d8a— Coaches For Action (@coaches4action) March 3, 2021
Terrence Rencher, assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, issued a statement via the “Coaches for Action”, a group that’s mission is to bring awareness to and educate players about issues on social injustice. Rencher, who is a Black man, admits in his statement that his relationship with McDermott has “been positive” and he has “never witnessed any racist energy from him, what he said was wrong and insensitive.” He goes on to add that he was “deeply hurt by his words” and will continue to offer support to the players and their needs.
As of now, the team has opted to continue playing the rest of the season with McDermott as their coach.