ETSU gamers consider their white coach bought fired as a result of he supported their kneeling. Then the college employed a Black coach. Wait, what?


Desmond Oliver is the new head coach at East Tennessee State, and he’s inherited a very unusual situation.

Desmond Oliver is the brand new head coach at East Tennessee State, and he’s inherited a really uncommon scenario.
Picture: ETSU/Twitter

On Monday, whereas the faculty basketball world was getting ready for the nationwide championship recreation between Gonzaga and Baylor, East Tennessee State was busy naming its first Black males’s basketball coach.

Sadly, Desmond Oliver’s promotion comes at a really peculiar time, as he’s taking on for a white coach who might have been fired for letting his Black gamers kneel in the course of the nationwide anthem.

“Nobody goes to outwork us as we develop younger leaders inside our program who will join with this group and make a optimistic impression,” mentioned the previous longtime assistant that’s lastly been given a possibility to run his personal program. “My household is raring to make Johnson Metropolis our house and interact in productive dialogue about uplifting approaches to the distinctive challenges our younger folks face.”

Nonetheless, whereas Oliver could also be excited to be in Johnson Metropolis, Tenn., it doesn’t imply that the town and state are blissful he’s there. In line with a native report, ETSU’s former head coach Jason Shay — a white man — and his assistants had their autos reclaimed from a neighborhood Honda dealership after they backed gamers for kneeling.

“(ETSU President) Brian Noland got here in right here Saturday or so after the sport and we talked about it. I informed Noland I wasn’t going wherever,” mentioned dealership proprietor Joe Trujillo. “I’m going to assist ETSU and I at all times will. I cannot assist the kneeling however there’s 14,000 college students there that need schooling and I’m not going to desert them.”

Thoughts you, gamers kneeling at ETSU is what led to Senate Republicans sending a letter to all presidents and chancellors of public Tennessee faculties and universities in an try to cease gamers from kneeling again in February.

“All this about us kneeling, after which Coach Shay supporting us by all of that. Individuals ought to desire a coach that stands behind the gamers by something,” ETSU senior guard Jordan Coffin mentioned in a video retweeted by Shay’s college-age daughter, Peija Shay, based on a report from ESPN. “For that to be a component in why he has to resign, then I don’t need no a part of that.”

Shay was solely in his first season at ETSU and had two years left on his contract. “This previous 12 months has been extraordinarily difficult for me in many various methods,” he mentioned in a press release. “It’s the proper time for a brand new problem and a possibility to reset my private {and professional} targets.” Racism made Shay faucet out. Black folks will inform you that hatred is a particularly heavy burden to hold.

So now, in his first time serving as a head coach, Oliver — a Black man — has to work at a faculty with this sort of observe file, whereas dwelling in a city and state that has proven how little they consider Black folks and Black causes. That’s a helluva “promotion.”

Far too usually, in sports activities and society, a Black individual is introduced in to scrub up a large number they didn’t make, and as soon as all the pieces is good and tidy, they’re shipped out the door. Simply take a look at the Oval Workplace. Don’t you discover it fairly ironic that stimulus checks had been despatched out to tens of millions of People by the white president that preceded Obama and the one which adopted. Simply saying.

At his introductory press convention Monday, Oliver talked about how he wished to convey a “fast-paced, crowd-pleasing fashion” to ETSU, and that he was trying to herald hardworking, high-character gamers. He additionally mentioned it was a precedence to “re-recruit our guys.”

How do you usher in Black recruits in 2021 after a scenario like this, whereas making an attempt to cease gamers from leaving a faculty that’s confirmed that their presence and humanity isn’t desired, simply tolerated for leisure functions?

However, that’s the factor about racism. It may field you right into a nook that’s unattainable to get out of at occasions. And the saddest half about all of that is that it’s most likely the most effective head teaching alternative that’s ever been offered to Desmond Oliver.


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