Mississippi State is not standing pat after Mike Leach’s latest Twitter controversy.
The school said in a statement Tuesday that it didn’t condone Leach’s Twitter behavior last week when he tweeted a joke that involved a picture of a woman knitting a noose for her husband after they were quarantined together. Leach deleted the tweet after he posted it and said that he was sorry for offending anyone with the image.
“No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi,” Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. “Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach. He removed the tweet and issued a public apology. The university is confident that Coach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep and will provide the leadership for our student athletes and excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud to support.”
Leach was hired by Cohen after the 2019 football season to replace the fired Joe Moorhead. In its statement, the school said that Leach would be provided a guided tour of both the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History when the museums reopen.
“Cohen said that a plan is in place for Coach Leach to participate in additional listening sessions with student, alumni, and community groups and to provide the coach with opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi,” the school’s statement said. “One of those opportunities will include a guided visit to the “Two Museums” – the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum – in Jackson as soon as restrictions from the current public health crisis will allow.”
Player transferred after Leach’s tweet
The image immediately drew frustration and confusion from MSU players on social media and it even led to the transfer of one player. Sophomore defensive tackle Fabien Lovett said after Leach’s tweet was posted and deleted that he was leaving the program. And, per his father, the tweet and the transfer were connected.
"I didn't feel comfortable with my son being down there with a guy like that from a leadership standpoint — that you can just throw anything out there," Fabien’s father Abdual Lovette told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "I feel if he can do it, the kids are going to feel like they can do it."
With classes at Mississippi State online only and football activities prohibited because of the pandemic, Leach has been spending the spring in Key West, Florida. Per Sports Illustrated, Leach has even used his time to produce a podcast about the Netflix series “Tiger King.” Now that he’s done with Tiger King, we’re betting Mississippi State would like Leach to pick up a book on the state’s history.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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