Creighton suspends Greg McDermott from 'all team activities' after 'plantation' comment | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / May 21.
  • Creighton suspends Greg McDermott from ‘all team activities’ after ‘plantation’ comment

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Creighton announced Thursday night that it has suspended head coach Greg McDermott from “all team activities” going forward in light of his recent racially insensitive comment and that assistant Alan Huss will serve as interim head coach.

    The Bluejays host Butler Saturday in their regular-season finale and then head to New York for the Big East Tournament next week at Madison Square Garden. They are projected as a 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, per ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

    On Tuesday, McDermott issued an apology for making a reference to a “plantation” in the locker room after his team’s 77-69 loss to Xavier on Saturday.

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

    It’s unclear if McDermott meant to use the word “reservation” instead of “plantation,” but that phrase is not considered politically correct, either.

    In a Twitter post on Tuesday, McDermott said he “immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with the team.”

    McDermott offered his resignation but the players reportedly did not want that.

    “If they would have chosen to have me walk away, I would have walked away. But that is not what they wanted,” he said in a radio interview that aired Wednesday.

    No players have come out publicly to support McDermott, who was allowed to coach in Wednesday’s game at No. 10 Villanova, which the Bluejays lost, 72-60.

    Social media responses to the suspension are somewhat split, with some saying McDermott should be allowed to learn from his mistake and grow and that Creighton lacks “compassion, empathy and forgiveness” for its actions.

    Others feel little sympathy for McDermott and say “there is no excuse for this.”

    Five of the Big East’s 11 head coaches are Black, but none have commented publicly since the suspension.

    “Very, very tough situation that he’s going through and I just pray that he can get through it OK,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said Wednesday.

    McDermott, 56, has been at Creighton since 2010 and has taken the Blue Jays to five NCAA Tournaments. He is the father of Indiana Pacers forward Doug McDermott.

    Last October, Penn State coach Pat Chambers stepped down after an internal investigation of inappropriate conduct. The Undefeated published an article in which former Penn State guard Rasir Bolton alleged Chambers made a comment involving a “noose around [his] neck” and said that led him to transfer. 

    Photo: AP

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.