Mississippi State said Tuesday that it does not condone head coach Mike Leach’s behavior on Twitter last week.
The school issued a statement saying it was “disappointed” with Leach’s tweet that contained a meme of a woman knitting her husband a noose during self-quarantine.
“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. Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach,” Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. “The university is confident that Coach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep.”
The school added that “a plan is in place” for Leach to participate in “additional listening sessions with student, alumni, and community groups and to provide the coach with opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi.” Among those opportunities are guided visits to Jackson’s Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Last Wednesday, the recently hired Leach tweeted a meme of a woman knitting her husband a noose during self-quarantine. Leach deleted the message on Wednesday night and apologized Thursday.
“I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive. I had no intention of offending anyone,” Leach tweeted.
According to Mississippi Clarion Ledger, senior linebacker Erroll Thompson retweeted Leach’s original post with a hand-on-the-chin, eyebrow-raised thinking emoji. Defensive lineman Fabien Lovett responded to the tweet with “Wtf.” Senior defensive end Kobe Jones responded to Lovett with “Facts. He tripping.” with a hand-on-the-face ashamed emoji.
On Friday, Lovett announced his intention to transfer from Mississippi State. Lovett didn’t elaborate on his decision and didn’t say if Leach’s tweet prompted it.
Leach has more than 350,000 followers on Twitter.
The Bulldogs hired Leach in early January as a replacement for Joe Moorehead, who struggled in his two seasons with the school.
Leach, known for employing the Air Raid offense, joins Mississippi State after serving as Washington State’s head coach for eight seasons.