Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott apologized Tuesday for asking his team to “stay on the plantation” after a loss Saturday.
“Specifically, I said: ‘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,’” McDermott revealed in a statement. “I realize the pain that my words have caused. For that, I sincerely apologize.”
McDermott said he was trying to encourage the Bluejays to stick together after a 77-69 loss to Xavier and that he immediately recognized his poor choice of words.
Creighton called McDermott’s comments “deplorable” in a statement.
“While an apology is a start, and while we believe this was out of character for Coach McDermott, in no way does it diminish the fact that his remark was hurtful to many and has absolutely no place in the Creighton community,” the university said.
Terrence Rencher, an assistant coach at Creighton and member of Coaches For Action, a group of Big East coaches whose mission is “to use their platform to educate and bring awareness to social injustices,” also responded publicly to the head coach’s analogy.
“I am deeply hurt by his words. While my relationship with Coach has been positive and I have never witnessed any racist energy from him, what he said was wrong and insensitive,” Rencher said. “Right now my focus is on the players and supporting them.”
Rencher said the team had discussed McDermott’s words and would continue the season with him in charge. Creighton is 17-6 and almost certain to make the NCAA Tournament.
McDermott’s comments were not publicly reported prior to Tuesday’s apology.