Creighton Suspends Basketball Coach For 'Plantation' Remarks To His Team

Creighton Basketball Coach Greg McDermott
Head coach Greg McDermott of the Creighton Bluejays questions a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Seton Hall Pirates at Prudential Center on January 27, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. Creighton defeated Seton Hall 85-81. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Creighton University suspended men's basketball coach Greg McDermott for his recent plantation remarks made after a loss to Xavier in Big East Conference play. The university made its announcement Thursday night, two days after the coach admitted to making the remarks last weekend.

The university tweeted that McDermott's remarks "were not in alignment with Creighton's commitment to racial equality, diversity and respect."

"Coach McDermott and the team have accepted that, effective immediately, he is suspended from all team activities, including Saturday's home season finale against Butler" the statement read. "Further sanctions remain under consideration, not of all which will be shared publicly."

Assistant coach Al Huss will take over the interim coaching duties, and the university said it will use this incident as "an opportunity for growth and learning, as clearly more work needs to be done."

A statement from Bruce Rasmussen regarding the Creighton’s Men’s Basketball Program:

— Creighton University (@Creighton) March 5, 2021

McDermott on Tuesday wrote this apologetic statement on social media, and the university went on to say his comments were "deplorable."

"On February 27th, after an emotionally tough loss on the road, I addressed our student-athletes and staff in the postgame locker room and used a terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss," McDermott wrote. "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.'

"I immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with my team. 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. I have apologized to our student-athletes and to our staff, as well as to President [Daniel] Hendrickson and Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen.

"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 our student-athletes' honesty and will maintain an open dialogue as we grow and learn together."

The university released a statement later in the day, calling McDermott's comments "deplorable."

"Coach McDermott acknowledged the impact of his words and apologized to his student-athletes, their families and his staff," the university wrote. "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. We have offered our full and unconditional support to those affected by his words."

Creighton (17-6), ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll, had won four-consecutive games before its 77-69 loss at Xavier on Saturday. The Creighton Bluejays are a half game behind Villanova in the Big East standings. Creighton travels to face No. 10 Villanova on Wednesday in a game that could determine the conference's regular-season champion.