TCU football coach Gary Patterson on Tuesday apologized for using a racial slur in an attempt to get a player to stop using that word. Patterson called his use of the slur “unacceptable” in any context.
Former defensive back Niko Small accused the coach of using the word in front of the team in a now-deleted tweet, according to the Associated Press, and several teammates tweeted that Small had not included context. They tweeted their own explanations, and several skipped practice.
Freshman linebacker Dylan Jordan tweeted Monday afternoon about an exchange with Patterson at practice Sunday, an exchange in which he said Patterson told him to stop using the n-word in team meetings. As he did so, Patterson repeated the slur.
According to Jordan, Patterson called him “a f------ brat. I’ll send you back to Pitt” during practice in reference to Jordan’s hometown of Pittsburg, Kan. Jordan said he responded: “For what? I ain’t did nothing.” He went on to say that Patterson, 60, shot back, “You’ve been saying [the n-word] in the meeting room.”
Jordan told his teammates that the coach had used the actual word and, when they refused to practice, he wrote that Patterson “came to the locker room and said, ‘I wasn’t calling him a [n-word].’ This behavior is not okay now or ever and there needs to be repercussions to these actions.”
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Patterson, the winningest coach in TCU history with a 172-70 record in 20 seasons, tweeted Tuesday morning that he had met with seniors and leadership council members to discuss “how we move forward as a team together.”
“I apologize for the use of a word that, in any context, is unacceptable,” he continued. “I have always encouraged our players to do better and be better and I must live by the same standards. Our players, past and present, have always been the strength of our program. These men are and will always be my motivation and driving force.”
Chancellor Victor Boschini told TCU student media in an email, via the AP, that Patterson “said it trying to ask the players not to use it anymore. He has since apologized for doing so in this manner and said it was a teachable moment for him and many others.”
Artayvious Lynn, a senior tight end, initially called Jordan “soft” for his tweet but later tweeted that he was “wrong” to have done so and continued:
“First & foremost I would like to say that I AM COMPLETELY AGAINST ALL RACISM as a black man I’m constantly praying for peace and Love amongst this world. The N word is Never okay to use under any circumstances. The word was unacceptable for My coach to say it regardless of the content.”
Lynn added his support for coaches. “Coach P was trying to get Dylan to stop saying the word, period. In my 5 years of being at TCU I have definitely experienced much racism,” he wrote. “I never experienced being call a [n-word] by any coach.”
According to Lynn, players and Patterson discussed “ways to move forward” and they asked him to “quit saying, ‘I don’t see color,’ because he has to see it. We living in hard times for black people right now. We must continue to demand change.”
Kellton Hollins, a center who is a member of the team’s leadership council, tweeted that the council had met with Patterson and “discussed ways to move forward while keeping in mind the mental health of the football team. Coach P understands the significance of what he said.”
“Regardless of the context, the word is unacceptable to use but even more so in today’s climate,” Hollins said. “As a team, we will continue to hold coaches and everyone accountable especially as it pertains to the injustices of America.”
Safety Trevon Moehrig was among Horned Frogs players who defended Patterson and added context to his remarks. “We all know what was said and I will not speak on it because what he said was wrong, but it was misconstrued,” Moehrig tweeted. “What I will say is that I know the kind of person Coach P is and where his heart is at. I also know the situation and what occurred unlike most of y’all. He has done so much for me and players before me. The media is eating this up cause it’s another story for them to get attention.
“I respect Coach P as a man as well as a coach. And after multiple conversations with him and the team, I feel we are already making steps toward the right direction and change.”
His mother, Kandace Moehrig, echoed that on Twitter, writing: “Communication is so important. I love to see you guys talking through this and sifting through the BS. This shows maturity as an individual and team! Why the media loves to pump negativity is beyond me. You make me proud!”
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