The Wake Forest University athletics department attempted to distance itself from comments tweeted by a part-time video coordinator who declared he “could not be a prouder American” as pro-Donald Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
As reported by The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., Harrison “Brice” Brazell, who works as an intern in creative video for Wake’s football team, deleted his Twitter account after sending out two posts during the insurrection in Washington, D.C., including one that read: “MAGA! Radical left is destroying this country.”
Will Pantages, a Wake Forest associate athletic director, declined to tell The News & Observer the status of Brazell’s employment, saying via email that Wake, “does not discuss internal employment matters.” Pantages shared a statement with the paper that was also posted to the Wake Forest athletics Twitter account on Wednesday. The statement protected Brazell’s rights to speak freely, while disagreeing with the content of his posts: “Social media comments made on personal accounts of employees do not represent the position of Wake Forest University, including the tweet posted and since deleted by a part-time hourly intern.”
Wake Forest's statement received backlash from other social media users — some questioning why "part-time hourly intern" was deemed relevant, as if to suggest Brazell's status made his comments were less egregious than if they had come from a full-time or salaried employee. Others were surprised the statement didn't include either "former" or "fired."
While it remains unclear whether Brazell is still employed by Wake Forest, other schools have taken swift and decisive action against staff members who post political opinions on social media. Last Thursday, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga fired offensive line coach Chris Malone for his tweet referring to former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as “Fat Albert” and making reference to a stolen election.