Greg McDermott was “this close” to signing TyTy Washington — arguably the highest-ranked recruit in the history of Creighton basketball — last season in a year in which he was coaching a Top-25 team. But then, he just had to mess it all up by saying something super racist:
“Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”
A few days later, Washington de-committed and eventually signed with Kentucky.
“It was definitely the controversy,” Washington told The Athletic. “I really wanted to attend Creighton. It felt like the situation and the plan Coach McDermott had for me was really good. So it was kind of heartbreaking once I found out what he said. I just felt like the day and age we’re living in — a police officer just killed another young Black man for no reason — him saying something like that, it’s just not right.”
The loss was McDermott’s, and his alone, as his team will enter the season unranked. The gain? Well, that was Washington’s… as he’ll be starting for the No. 10-ranked Wildcats and just signed an NIL deal with Porsche.
“They don’t come here because of name, image and likeness, but let me say this: To this point, our players have the most [NIL] transactions on our campus, and there is only really 10 of them taking advantage, and they have the most transactions on this campus,” John Calipari said at media day. “They are benefiting [from] this.”
Laughing at Greg McDermott will never not be funny. And in the era of Jon Gruden, he’s another example of how white coaches think they can get away with saying anything in sports dominated by Black people. Diversity and anti-racism aren’t just good for humanity, they’re also good for the business of sports.