The first-year soccer coach at Mississippi State University has been reprimanded and should go to a civil rights museum after he just lately shared a meme on Twitter of a girl knitting a noose, the college’s athletic director mentioned this week.
The coach, Mike Leach, 59, who has since apologized for the put up, additionally should take part in a collection of listening classes to “expand his cultural awareness” of the state, John Cohen, the athletic director, mentioned in an announcement on Tuesday.
The meme, which Leach posted on April 1 and later deleted, featured a black-and-white picture of an older white lady with knitting needles. Its caption learn, “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf.”
But as a substitute of a shawl, a hangman’s knot was on the lady’s lap, a picture that critics mentioned was extremely offensive and evoked the lynchings of black folks within the Deep South. At least one participant on the soccer staff has introduced his plans to switch due to Leach’s tweet.
“No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi,” Cohen mentioned. “Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach.”
Leach, whom Mississippi State employed in January from Washington State University, expressed regret over the put up the following day.
“I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive,” Leach wrote on Thursday. “I had no intention of offending anyone.”
Fabien Lovett, 20, a defensive sort out who grew up in Vicksburg, Miss., responded to his coach on Twitter with an expletive. Lovett mentioned in an interview on Wednesday that he was upset by Leach’s tweet and was in search of to switch due to the put up.
“We’re in the South,” Lovett mentioned. “We’re in Mississippi. Stuff like that plays a huge role in our family, especially black men. Our ancestors were lynched.”
Lovett mentioned he was dissatisfied with the college’s response and with Leach’s apology, which he described as insincere.
“That’s the prime example of why I need to leave Mississippi,” he mentioned.
Mississippi State didn’t make Leach obtainable for additional touch upon Wednesday. An athletic division spokesman referred to the assertion Cohen issued on Tuesday.
“The college is assured that Coach Leach is shifting shortly and sincerely previous this unintended misstep and can present the management for our scholar athletes and pleasure for our soccer program that our followers deserve and that our college students and alumni will probably be proud to assist,” Cohen mentioned within the assertion.
Cohen mentioned he deliberate to have Leach take part in listening classes with scholar, alumni and group teams. Leach can even go to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, he mentioned.
In 2009, Texas Tech University dismissed Leach as its soccer coach for what it mentioned was his mistreatment of one in all his gamers, Adam James, a sophomore receiver who’s the son of Craig James, then an ESPN broadcaster.
Leach was accused of isolating James in an tools storage and a media room whereas he was sitting out follow with a concussion. Texas Tech officers mentioned that Leach’s actions, together with not signing a letter spelling out tips for coping with gamers, and his response to their investigation pressured them to fireside him.
On Friday, Shannon Sharpe, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a co-host of the present “Undisputed” on Fox Sports 1, criticized Leach on Twitter and on tv.
“Given the history of Emmett Till and lynchings in the state of Mississippi, Mike Leach, as the head coach of Mississippi State, you seriously thought it would be cool to post a picture that had a noose in it?” Sharpe wrote.
Emmett, whose brutal homicide in 1955 served as a catalyst for the civil rights motion, was tortured and lynched. He was 14. A bulletproof signal marking the spot alongside the Tallahatchie River the place his physique was discovered was put in final 12 months after earlier indicators have been vandalized.