Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen announced the reinstatement of head men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott in a statement Monday afternoon.
“Through his immediate apology, ownership of his actions, difficult dialogue with his team, and more, Coach McDermott has demonstrated a commitment to grow. I believe his apology, his commitment to grow from this, to learn, and to regain the trust of his student-athletes and others impacted by his words. From our conversations, he understands that forgiveness must be earned, and he is willing to work for it,” the statement read. “His actions during his career reveal an individual committed to his team and his community. As such, Coach Greg McDermott has been reinstated for all team activities, including this week’s Big East Tournament.”
McDermott was suspended from all team activities last Thursday after he used an analogy that compared the team to a “plantation” in a postgame meeting on Feb. 27.
Before Saturday’s senior day tip off against Butler, a prerecorded video from a handful of Creighton players addressed McDermott’s locker room comments that led to his suspension.
In the video, sophomore Shereef Mitchell detailed the abuse and treatment of slaves on plantations.
Following Mitchell’s comments, senior Denzel Mahoney said, “And that is why what Coach Mac said hurt me and my teammates.”
The video also included statements from junior Christian Bishop and sophomore Antwann Jones before senior Damien Jefferson ended by saying: “Let’s not be OK with racism. Let’s start the conversation.”
The conversation did not end with that video. Following Saturday’s victory, junior Marcus Zegarowski also addressed McDermott’s comments.
“Obviously it’s a real sensitive topic. A lot of the guys in that locker room were hurting from it, and I was hurting from what he said. But at the same time, you know, Coach Mac, he has been a huge mentor for me,” Zegarowski said.
He continued by recognizing that the team will continue growing and fighting together on and off the court.
According to Rasmussen’s statement McDermott and other campus leaders will participate in a program with the Racial Equity Institute on understanding the institutional and structural forms of racism.
“By examining how institutions produce unjust outcomes, the program assists in generating meaningful plans for positive change. Coach McDermott is eager to participate in this and other important programs and activities, and recognizes that this is a critical next step in our collective learning process,” the statement read.
McDermott rejoins the team this week as the Bluejays enter the Big East tournament as the No. 2 seed.