A few months ago, white athletes and coaches were marching and standing alongside their Black teammates and players in unity. They had supposedly seen the light. It was finally time for change.
Kirk Herbstreit even got on TV and broke down crying. Apparently, he was “moved.”
It was truly a moment… for white America.
But here we are, just a few months later, and the Gregg Marshall situation at Wichita State is proving that little, if anything, has changed. The Shockers’ head basketball coach is still coaching, and collecting on his $3.5 million annual salary while under investigation for being an abusive maniac.
It’s so bad that even faculty members are wondering why Marshall hasn’t been sidelined.
“Suspension of university employees is a personnel decision,” read a statement from the school to The Wichita Eagle. “The university does not comment on personnel matters in accordance with state and federal privacy laws.”
“Although Coach Marshall has not been placed on administrative leave at this time, I will continue to assess the program’s coaching and other needs in order to support the safety and well-being of the student-athletes,” WSU Athletic Director Darron Boatright wrote to The Eagle.
Here’s the part where I point out that had Marshall been Black, he would have been gone weeks ago. Black coaches don’t get to act like this.
Marshall is alleged to have punched a player, body-slammed another, and made fun of a third athlete’s Native American heritage. The Athletic originally broke the story and went into detail about all the insane things Marshall is said to have done.
Like during the 2015-2016 season, when Marshall allegedly punched Shaq Morris, choked one of his assistant coaches, and tried to punch a student-athlete (from a different sport) through his car window because the kid parked in Marshall’s spot.
And during the 2018-19 season, when Marshall allegedly told Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler to “get back on his horse” and made “Indian howling noises.”
These are things that racists do.
And last spring, seven players left the program, with a commit even asking to be released from his letter of intent. He wanted out before he even got to campus.
As expected, Marshall is denying all of the accusations.
If this situation sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because it is. And no, I’m not even talking about Bobby Knight. We don’t even have to go back that far because less than a decade ago, Mike Rice was in a similar position. The former Rutgers men’s basketball coach was fired in 2013 after a tape showed him pushing, grabbing, and throwing basketballs at his players during practice. He also liked to use gay slurs.
Here’s the video. Re-watch it.
Rice still hasn’t learned his lesson, either. Earlier this year, a 10-part docuseries called “On Point” was released, chronicling the lives of high school basketball players throughout the AAU circuit. Rice is a coach for one of the teams, and he still acts like a raving lunatic with no boundaries.
Seeing a guy like Rice get another chance to coach teenagers, albeit on a lower level, isn’t too surprising when you think about it. The sports industry has proven that it will bend over backward to give white coaches third and fourth chances, while Black coaches have to fight to barely get one.
For instance, when the college basketball season starts Rick Pitino — a man who almost single-handedly ruined Louisville’s program a few years ago — will be back on the sidelines at Iona. LSU’s Will Wade and Arizona’s Sean Miller will also still be helming their respective teams even after HBO’s “The Scheme” documentary revealed both of them on FBI wiretaps admitting they pay players.
This is the part where I remind you that every single coach that’s been mentioned is white.
After everything that’s happened in 2020, I thought the racial playing field was supposed to level itself out.
Welp, so much for equality.
Because even if Gregg Marshall does wind up getting fired, it’ll be because Wichita State had to do it, not because they wanted to.