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Creighton Reinstates McDermott, Pledges to Grow

Brock Fritz

Greg McDermott will be back on the sideline this weekend.

Creighton University has reinstated the men’s basketball coach after a one-game suspension due to a racially insensitive analogy he made following a Feb. 27 loss at Xavier. McDermott, who became Creighton’s head coach in 2010, tweeted an apology March 2, saying he was sorry for telling the team in the postgame locker room, “Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”

Related content: Creighton Coach Apologizes for ‘Inappropriate Analogy’

The comments sparked discussions throughout the Creighton program, from players to assistant coaches to administration. Director of athletics Bruce Rasmussen announced March 4 that McDermott was suspended indefinitely, missing Saturday’s win over Butler in the regular-season finale.

Related content: Creighton Suspends Coach for Plantation Comment

Rasmussen released another statement Monday reinstating McDermott for the postseason, which is scheduled to start Thursday against Butler or Xavier in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference Tournament.  

“Over the past week, either (university president) Father (Daniel) Hendrickson or I have consulted with Creighton men’s basketball student-athletes, their coaches and parents, former student-athletes, future recruits and, of course, members of the University community regarding Coach Greg McDermott’s offensive remarks on February 27. I also witnessed the courage of our student-athletes when they used their voices to share their true feelings about last week’s remarks. Let me be clear: Coach McDermott’s use of the ‘plantation’ analogy was egregious and has absolutely no place in our society. His remarks have caused significant hurt to many on our campus and in our community.

“Through his immediate apology, ownership of his actions, difficult dialogue with his team, and more, Coach McDermott has demonstrated a commitment to grow. I believe his apology, his commitment to grow from this, to learn, and to regain the trust of his student-athletes and others impacted by his words. From our conversations, he understands that forgiveness must be earned, and he is willing to work for it. His actions during his career reveal an individual committed to his team and his community. As such, Coach Greg McDermott has been reinstated for all team activities, including this week’s Big East Tournament.

“Coach will participate with other leaders on campus in a program beginning next month with the Racial Equity Institute — a program that is designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. By examining how institutions produce unjust outcomes, the program assists in generating meaningful plans for positive change. Coach McDermott is eager to participate in this and other important programs and activities, and recognizes that this is a critical next step in our collective learning process.

“We will use this as an opportunity to grow and invest in being better. We must.”

Related content: Creighton Players Speak Out Over Coach’s Comments

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