Creighton coach Greg McDermott says he offered to resign after urging players to ‘stay on the plantation’
By Dan Gelston
Mar 03, 2021 at 11:13 PM
VILLANOVA, PA. — Justin Moore scored 24 points and helped No. 10 Villanova capture the Big East title with a 72-60 win over a No. 14 Creighton team playing with coach Greg McDermott under fire for using language evocative of slavery.
McDermott, who had apologized for urging his players to “stay on the plantation” in a postgame locker-room talk after a loss over the weekend, said on Creighton’s pregame radio show that he offered to resign. McDermott said he had a long meeting with players Sunday night and said he saw “pain in their face(s)” and hoped “one mistake doesn’t define you.”
McDermott said he wanted to make sure the Blue Jays wanted him to remain as coach and apologized for the “distraction that I brought to this team for the choice that I made.”
“Our guys wanted me to coach, and that’s my job,” McDermott said.
McDermott, who is white, has been Creighton’s coach since 2010. He acknowledged saying: “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.”
He added that he apologized directly to Creighton’s president, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, and athletic director Bruce Rasmussen.
Creighton assistant coach Terrence Rencher, who is Black, tweeted that he was “deeply hurt” by McDermott’s words.
The school said any disciplinary action would remain confidential. The Big East released a statement Wednesday saying “there is no place in our society for language that evokes painful chapters in our nation’s history.”
McDermott was on the sideline Wednesday and received a fist bump from seemingly all but one player as they ran off the court from pregame warmups.
McDermott’s racially insensitive remarks overshadowed what was expected to be fantastic showdown between the top two teams in the Big East. The Wildcats instead raced to a 19-point lead and clinched their seventh regular-season title under coach Jay Wright in the last eight seasons.
The Wildcats lost Collin Gillespie, their star senior guard who’s averaging 14.4 points, to a left knee injury in the first half. He writhed in pain on the court and immediately needed help to the locker room.
“It’s serious. We don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s serious,” Wright said.