STARKVILLE – Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach has received plenty of backlash from a tweet he sent last week.
Leach, notorious for tweeting out humorous memes, sent out one last Wednesday that depicted an elderly woman knitting a noose with a caption that read “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf.”
Several of his players including defensive tackle Fabien Lovett, who has since entered the transfer portal, were among many who reacted negatively to the image.
Leach deleted the controversial tweet the tweet the following morning and offered a public apology stating “I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive. I had no intention of offending anyone.”
On Tuesday, MSU director of athletics John Cohen issued a public reprimand for Leach’s tweet.
“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,” 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.”
According to Cohen, Leach will participate in additional listening sessions with student, alumni and community groups to provide him with opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi. He will also visit the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson whenever restrictions are lifted from the coronavirus pandemic.