Sports | March 5, 2021 3:53 pm

Creighton Suspends Basketball Coach Greg McDermott for Giving “Plantation” Pep Talk

For some reason, McDermott invoked the term while imploring his team to stick together

Creighton Suspends Basketball Coach Greg McDermott For Giving "Plantation" Pep Talk
Creighton Bluejays head coach Greg McDermott on January 27, 2021.
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty

After using a racially charged term while addressing his players during a postgame speech in the locker room following a tough loss, Creighton University basketball coach Greg McDermott has been suspended indefinitely.

Following the 14th-ranked Bluejays’ 77-69 loss at Xavier last weekend, McDermott told his players, some of whom are white and some of whom are Black, that they needed to “stay on the plantation.”

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

In an apology he posted on Twitter, McDermott said he was trying to make a point to his team about sticking together and ended up using a “terribly inappropriate analogy.”

Following the Bluejays’ 72-60 loss at No. 10 Villanova on Wednesday, McDermott admitted making “an awful mistake” by using a term that referenced slavery.

“The pain that I caused our players, who look to me as a mentor and as a leader — the pain that I saw in their eyes — was immense,” he said.

In a release announcing the 56-year-old coach’s suspension, Creighton athletic director Bruce said McDermott’s remarks were “not in alignment with Creighton’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and respect.”

“Coach McDermott and our athletics program must use this incident as an opportunity for growth and learning, as clearly more work needs to be done,” Rasmussen said. He added that additional sanctions are under consideration.

To his credit, McDermott said he agreed. “I made a mistake and I own it,” he wrote on Twitter. “Mistakes come with consequences, and I accept and agree with the suspension.”

At 17-8 on the season with one more game left to play, Creighton is ranked in the top 25 and is projected as a No. 5 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Whether McDermott will be reinstated to coach his team in the Big Dance remains to be seen.