Creighton’s Greg McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ comment

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Creighton men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott owned up to his “inappropriate” choice of words after Saturday’s loss to Xavier.

McDermott, coach of the Blue Jays since 2010, shared his postgame words in a statement on Twitter.

“Guys, we got to stick together,” he said. “We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”

The 56-year-old called the 77-69 road loss “emotionally tough,” and wrote that he “immediately recognized my egregious mistake,” addressing the team over his words “quickly.”

“I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach,” McDermott wrote. “I am deeply sorry. I have apologized to our student-athletes and to our staff, as well as to President [Rev. Daniel] Hendrickson and Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen.

“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.

Among the staff McDermott has had to address is assistant coach Terrence Rencher, a member of Coaches for Action, a coalition of Big East coaches committed to education around social justice.

“Let me address what Coach McDermott said: I am deeply hurt by his words,” Rencher said in a statement of his own. “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.

“‘Plantation’ had a dark and hurtful history in my community and cannot be overlooked. … The players have decided that they want to continue to chase their goals on the court this season with Coach McDermott and I support their wishes.”

The Omaha, Neb., school called McDermott’s language “deplorable” and in a statement said any discipline would remain confidential.

“While an apology is a start, and while we believe this was out of character for Coach McDermott, in no way does it diminish the fact that his remark was hurtful to many and has absolutely no place in the Creighton community,” the university’s statement said. “We have offered our full and unconditional support to those affected by his words.”

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