Creighton men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott has been suspended from all team activities indefinitely for his “plantation” comments last week, the school athletic director Bruce Rasmussen announced Thursday night.
“After our Creighton men’s basketball team returned to Omaha earlier today, [school president] Fr. [Daniel] Hendrickson and I engaged with other senior leaders in dialogue and discussion regarding appropriate sanctions for the remarks made by Head Men’s Basketball Coach Greg McDermott that were not in alignment with Creighton’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and respect,” Rasmussen said in a statement. “Coach McDermott and the team have accepted that, effective immediately, he is suspended from all team activities, including Saturday’s home season finale against Butler. Further sanctions remain under consideration, not all of which will be shared publicly. Assistant Coach AI Huss will serve as Interim Head Coach.”
After Saturday’s loss to Xavier, McDermott told his players, several of whom are black, that he needed them to stick together and that “I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”
The 56-year-old, who is in his 11th season at the school, apologized in a statement on Tuesday for his “inappropriate” words that made reference to slavery. He added that he “immediately recognized my egregious mistake.”
“I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach,” wrote McDermott. “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.”
McDermott said on Creighton’s pregame radio show before facing Big East leader Villanova on Wednesday that he offered to resign to his players, but “our guys wanted me to coach.” He apologized again after the loss to the Wildcats (17-7, 13-6). McDermott said the team needed to get back to Omaha and “have some more conversations which we need to have so that I can help them and they can help me.”
What awaited him upon his return was a suspension.
“Coach McDermott and our Athletics program must use this incident as an opportunity for growth and learning, as clearly more work needs to be done,” Rasmussen said.