Creighton Reinstates McDermott After “Planting” Remarks

OMAHA, Neb. –Creighton announced Monday that he lifted Greg McDermott’s suspension for making race-insensitive remarks to his players after a game last week.

McDermott has created a firestorm twice using the term “plantation” as part of an analogy calling for team unity. The university suspended McDermott indefinitely on Thursday after he coached in a Wednesday loss to Villanova.

Assistant coach Alan Huss led the Bluejays, 17th overall, in their 93-73 home win over Butler on Saturday. McDermott will be with the team for the Big East tournament this week and the NCAA tournament which begins next week.

Athletic director Bruce Rasmussen said he and university president Reverend Daniel Hendrickson have had discussions with players and their parents, former players and rookies as well as other stakeholders.

“I have also witnessed the courage of our student-athletes when they used their voices to share their true feelings about last week’s remarks,” said Rasmussen, referring to a video released at the CHI Health Center. before the Butler game. “Be clear: Coach McDermott’s use of the ‘plantation’ analogy was blatant and has absolutely no place in our society. His remarks caused significant harm to many people on our campus and in our community. “

Noting McDermott’s public apology and difficult discussions with his players and others, Rasmussen said the coach has shown a willingness to learn from the mistake.

“I believe in his apologies, his commitment to grow from it, to learn and to regain the trust of his student-athletes and others touched by his words,” said Rasmussen. “From our conversations, he understands that forgiveness must be earned and he’s willing to work for it. His actions during his career reveal an individual committed to his team and his community.

McDermott will participate with other campus leaders starting next month at the school’s Racial Equity Institute. The program is designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms.

“We will use this as an opportunity to grow and invest to be better,” said Rasmussen. “We must.”

McDermott, 56, was disciplined for his choice of words as he spoke to his team following a loss to Xavier on February 27.

“I need everyone to stay on the plantation. I can’t let anyone leave the plantation, ”McDermott told the players, using a term evoking slavery and the pre-war south.

The remarks were publicly disclosed last Tuesday when McDermott apologized in a Twitter post. He apologized again on Wednesday after the loss to Villanova. Rasmussen announced that McDermott was suspended indefinitely the following night, with McDermott tweeting that he deserved the suspension.

Five Black Creighton players explained in a short pre-game video on Saturday why McDermott’s words hurt them. Star goaltender Marcus Zegarowski, who did not speak in the video, said after the game that McDermott made a mistake but loved and supported all of his players.

The Bluejays have won at least 20 games nine times and have appeared in the NCAA tournament five times in McDermott’s 10 seasons at Creighton.


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