Creighton basketball coach apologizes after telling team to ‘stay on plantation’

Head coach Greg McDermott of the Creighton Bluejays tweeted Tuesday that he 'immediately recognized my egregious mistake.'

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The head coach of Creighton University’s basketball team apologized Tuesday for a recent remark in which he told his players to “stay on the plantation.” 

After losing a game this weekend, Coach Greg McDermott made the comments in what was described as a postgame locker-room talk. 

Head basketball coach Greg McDermott of the Creighton Bluejays watches game action during the second half against the Butler Bulldogs last month in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

In an apology posted on Twitter, McDermott wrote: “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.” 

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

McDermott said he “immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with the team. 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 Hendrickson and Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen.” 

He said that since the incident, he has engaged in “multiple difficult conversations” with student-athletes, parents and school administrators.

“I realize the pain that my words have caused,” he claimed. 

McDermott maintained that he is committed to learning from the experience and that he recognizes there is work to be done to regain the trust that was lost from his players. “I appreciate our student-athletes honesty,” he shared, “and will maintain an open dialogue as we grow and learn together.” 

The post got significant support from mostly white parents and former players who know McDermott. Others, though, are calling for him to donate money to African American causes. 

Creighton University, which is in Omaha, Nebraska, called the plantation reference “deplorable,” and said it was out of character for the coach. They also noted any disciplinary action would be kept confidential. 

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