Former Creighton commit TyTy Washington confirmed, for the first time publicly, to The Athletic that he de-committed from Creighton because of coach Greg McDermott's "plantation" comments.
“It was definitely the controversy,” he said to 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.”
Washington, who's reportedly being heavily pursued by Kentucky, is ranked the No. 30 overall prospect and the No. 3 point guard in the Class of 2021, per the 247Sports Composite.
McDermott issued an apology on March 2, revealing that he used an offensive analogy following Creighton's loss to Xavier.
"Guys, we need to stick together," McDermott said in his statement via Twitter, recalling what he said to his players. "We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation."
McDermott said that his intention was to make "a point about the team staying together as a team despite the loss;" however, the head coach realized his analogy was "an egregious mistake." The 56-year-old added that he has since addressed his insensitive words with the team.
He was suspended indefinitely on March 4, but was reinstated on March 8.
Athletic director Bruce Rasmussen said on March 8 that McDermott's remarks were "egregious" and hurt members of the school's community. He also supported players after they filmed a video sharing their perspective on the coach's comments.
"Through his immediate apology, ownership of his actions, difficult dialogue with his team, and more, coach McDermott has demonstrated a commitment to grow," Rasmussen said in the statement. "From our conversations, he understands that forgiveness must be earned, and he's willing to work for it."
He added that McDermott will participate in Racial Equity Institute, which aims to help participants better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms, with other campus leaders. Rasmussen also said McDermott will participate in other programs but did not mention any more specifics.