UNC Hoops Coach Accused of Making Racist Remarks

Women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell is also accused of making players play hurt.

UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell. (Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell. (Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

University of North Carolina’s women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and her entire staff were suspended earlier this week under murky circumstances – and now we know why.

According to The Washington Postparents of current players on the team have accused Hatchell of making “racially offensive remarks” and encouraging players with serious injuries to play through them.

In particular, Hatchell is accused of suggesting her players would get “hanged from trees with nooses” in the future if their performance on the court didn’t improve.

Hatchell, a Hall of Fame coach, also allegedly tried to get her players to partake in a “war chant” to “honor” the Native American ancestry of an assistant coach.

At a meeting with school officials, parents revealed one of the players who was pressured to play hurt later needed corrective shoulder surgery while another found out she had a torn tendon in her knee.

Hatchell’s attorney, Wade Smith, said the remarks made by his client have been misconstrued.

“She said, ‘They’re going to take a rope and string us up, and hang us out to dry,’” Smith said. “There is not a racist bone in her body. A very high percentage of the people who have played for her and who love her are African-American women. She is a terrific coach and a truly world-class human being.”

UNC is still conducting a review of the situation. “Carolina is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes and to ensuring that they have the best experience possible in and outside of competition,” the school said in a statement.

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