School officials at Brandeis University in Massachusetts finally got around to investigating its racist basketball head coach and his enablers. A media report prompted the move.
The university fired coach Brian Meehan on Thursday over multiple complaints about racism that are several years old. This shamefully overdue house cleaning came after Deadspin began asking questions for an article.
In one instance, Meehan told a Black player, “I’ll ship you back to Africa,” according to the news outlet. The racist comment that got him fired happened in May 2017, but university officials were aware of his alleged racially abusive behavior since 2013.
After the school removed Meehan, former players and their parents shared their experiences with Deadspin. Ryne Williams, a Black student who played for Meehan from 2012 to 2015, and his mother complained in 2013 about the coach to several administrators—including the university’s former president and the now-suspended athletic director.
Meehan routinely singled out Black players for harsh criticism over things that he would let slide for White players, according to Williams. In once instance, the coach stopped practice and called Williams a “motherf__ker” for not cutting all the way through the lane during practice. Yet Meehan was silent when a White player failed to do the same thing just minutes later.
Meehan’s racist attitude also extended to Jews—ironically, because Brandeis is a non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored university. One parent provided Deadspin with an email from 2014 as evidence that she complained to Brandeis officials that Meehan called her son a “Jew Boy.”
A similar racist culture existed at the University of Illinois, where White coaches singled out Black players on the women’s basketball team for racist abuse, CNN reported. An assistant coach would tell the Black women that their “culture” was “poison” or “toxic” to the starting team. The university’s athletic director claimed that he was unaware of the abuse until the news outlet contacted him for the story.
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