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Creighton coach Greg McDermott apologizes for 'deplorable' language referencing plantations

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3-min read

Creighton coach Greg McDermott issued an apology on Tuesday after he used “a terribly inappropriate analogy” referencing a plantation while speaking to his team after a loss on Saturday.

No. 14 Creighton, after falling to unranked Xavier 77-69 in Ohio, admitted he said the following to his team in the 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.”

His words asking players to “stay on the plantation” harkens back to America's history of slave labor on plantations up until slavery was abolished in 1865. 

“I immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with the team,” he said in a statement. “I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach.

“I am deeply sorry … Over the last 72 hours, I have engaged in multiple difficult conversations with student-athletes, staff, parents and university administrators and I realize the pain that my words have caused. For that, I sincerely apologize. I am committed to ensure that this will never happen again and am using this as a learning experience. While there remains work to be done and trust to earn back, I appreciate student-athletes’ honesty and will maintain an open dialogue as we grow and learn together.”

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Creighton: ‘We believe this was out of character’

The university released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, too, calling McDermott’s language “deplorable” and “inconsistent with the university’s values.”

“Coach McDermott acknowledged the impact of his words and apologized to his student-athletes, their families and his staff,” the school said in a statement, in part. “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.”

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It is unclear if the university will punish McDermott in any way, though it did say that any “disciplinary action will remain confidential.”

McDermott, 56, arrived at Creighton in 2010 after stints at Northern Iowa — where he played from 1984-88 — and Iowa State. He has compiled a 248-122 record with the Blue Jays and won two conference tournaments and two regular season titles. He has led the program to the NCAA tournament five times. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has Creighton as a No. 5 seed in his latest Bracketology.

Creighton Bluejays head coach Greg McDermott
Greg McDermott said he told his team after a loss last week that he needs "everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation." (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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