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Creighton reinstates men's basketball coach Greg McDermott

Creighton Bluejays men's basketball coach Greg McDermott (R) said he used the word "plantation" twice as part of an analogy promoting team unity after a loss to Xavier on Feb. 27. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Creighton Bluejays men's basketball coach Greg McDermott (R) said he used the word "plantation" twice as part of an analogy promoting team unity after a loss to Xavier on Feb. 27. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- Creighton University reinstated men's basketball coach Greg McDermott following a one-game suspension for using a racially insensitive analogy last month, the school announced Monday.

The university's decision allows McDermott to coach the Bluejays in this week's Big East tournament.

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On Tuesday, McDermott apologized for his "inappropriate" comments. He then coached Wednesday against Villanova before being suspended indefinitely Thursday. He missed Creighton's victory over Butler on Saturday, with assistant coach Alan Huss serving as the Bluejays' interim coach.

"Through his immediate apology, ownership of his actions, difficult dialogue with his team, and more, Coach McDermott has demonstrated a commitment to grow," Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen said in a statement Monday. "I believe his apology, his commitment to grow from this, to learn, and to regain the trust of his student-athletes and others impacted by his words.

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"From our conversations, he understands that forgiveness must be earned, and he is willing to work for it. His actions during his career reveal an individual committed to his team and his community. As such, coach Greg McDermott has been reinstated for all team activities, including this week's Big East tournament."

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After a loss to Xavier on Feb. 27, McDermott said he used the word "plantation" twice as part of an analogy promoting team unity.

"Specifically, I said: '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,'" McDermott said as part of his apology last week.

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Rasmussen said McDermott's "egregious" analogy has "absolutely no place in our society." He added that McDermott will take part in a program next month with the Racial Equity Institute.

McDermott said last week that he offered to resign over his comments. He noted that players at the school didn't ask for him to step down.

"Our guys wanted me to coach, and that's my job," McDermott said.

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McDermott has been the head coach at Creighton since 2010. Before taking over the Bluejays, he had coaching stops at Iowa State, Northern Iowa and North Dakota State.

Creighton finished the regular season with an 18-7 overall record and 14-6 mark in the Big East. The Bluejays will play the winner of the Xavier-Butler matchup in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.

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