Cheers to the Creighton Basketball Players for Righteous Response to Racist Statement by Their Coach



From a reader:

Creighton University men’s basketball team head coach Gregg McDermott told his players, in the locker room after a loss to Xavier University on February 27, “I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation.”

In response to this racist statement by their head coach, the Creighton players created a video that was played before their game with Butler University on March 6. The video included five Black players making a statement. A report from the Associated Press described what was on the video:

“James Baldwin said not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed without being faced,” forward Christian Bishop said at the start.

Guard Shereef Mitchell then said, “For slaves, life on a plantation was filled with mental, emotional, physical, psychological and sexual abuse. You were owned as property and not human. Slaves had no rights and no voice. They were branded like cattle, forced from their homeland and stripped of their culture, language and basic human rights. They worked 18 hours a day six days a week. Any sign of wrongdoing such as lack of productivity, not following instructions or resistance would result in beatings or death and that is why ...”

“What Coach Mac said hurt me and my teammates,” guard Denzel Mahoney said.

Guard Antwann Jones then said, “People speak about inequalities and equalities but don't truly know what it means to be equal. And I feel like this is the start for a new conversation to be had in the future. Let's continue to educate each other, and let's continue to grow.”

Forward Damien Jefferson said, “If I was your son, would it matter then? Let's not be OK with racism. Let's start the conversation.”

The video ended with all the Creighton players locked arm-in-arm on the court. Afterward, "Lift Every Voice and Sing,'' also known as the Black national anthem, was played. It was reported that neither team was on the court for the U.S. national anthem.

The university suspended coach McDermott for one game and said that “additional sanctions were under consideration.”

There is a new generation of Black athletes that will not keep silent about racism in this country, including when it comes out of the mouth of their coach. We can add the Creighton ballplayers to that list. Cheers to them.



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