I was out most of the day so I’m not sure who had the original report, but I think credit goes to Watch Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. Independently of Goodman, Texas Tech announced that Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Mark Adams was suspended pending an investigation concerning comments made by Adams to a player that were “inappropriate, unacceptable, and racially insensitive”.
Adams is quoted in the Goodman story (please click over for full context) that Adams was discussing with a player that there is a master and a servant.
“I was quoting the scripture,” Adams told Stadium. “It was a private conversation about coaching and when you have a job, and being coachable.”
“I said that in the Bible that Jesus talks about how we all have bosses, and we all are servants,” Adams added. “I was quoting the Bible about that.”
There was also a separate incident where Adams apparently spit on a player, Adams said he slobbered on a player as he had a bad cough, but a person close to the situation said that Adams said, “I can spit on you whenever I want to.”
Goodman wrote that upon learning of the incident, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt reached out to the player and handled the discipline of Adams:
According to sources, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt was notified of the incident by a staff member late last week, and reached out to the player’s family. In a statement, Texas Tech said that Hocutt immediately addressed the matter and issued a written reprimand. The school said it will conduct a “more thorough inquiry of Adams’ interactions with his players and staff.”
I suppose there are two separate things happening here and I’m almost more offended by the second more than the first, but then when I think about the first incident I change my mind. As to Adams referencing masters and servants, or slaves, yeah, that crosses a line for me. I think the religion aspect is a bit of a red herring. I’m guessing that this isn’t an issue because he quoted the Bible, but rather this is an issue because he talked about slaves and servants to likely an African-American player. And even then, that doesn’t matter, even if it isn’t an African-American player, a coach and player is not a master-servant situation. This is supposed to be a relationship.
When told that it upset the player, because not every human is going to feel the same way about things that you say, Adams didn’t apologize. This is weird because it would have been very simple to say that something like, I’m sorry. That was not my intent, can we talk this out? The quote in the Goodman story says that Adams simply did not apologize.
Adams simply dismisses the player’s feelings, that the player could not have been upset. That’s strange behavior at the least and a very good way to disenfranchise a player and a team. If I’m a player, I might be thinking that if you’re not going to listen to me, fine, that street goes both ways.
The second incident involves spitting and Adams’ statement is merely saying he didn’t remember saying what he’s quoted as saying and that he had a cold, which is why his spit got onto the player. That’s not a denial. A denial would have been, I did not state that, which is NOT what Adams said.
There were rumblings with Adams earlier in the year, which I won’t get into here, but there was stuff happening (that’s intended to be vague because I don’t know what’s public knowledge and what isn’t and my job is not to break news so I’m not going to start now) and then you add in Fardaws Aimaq saying that he’s walking away from the program in the middle of the year. That’s insanity.
I have a son who is gifted. He was playing in both club soccer and basketball in the fall. The initial week of soccer practices, he was hit in the face twice (supposedly by accident) and also kicked in the nuts (also supposedly by accident). I was not consulted regarding any of the incidents and after finding out about them I pulled him out of the soccer program because he was pretty certain that these weren’t accidents. The coaches told my son (again, without me present) that these were accidents and he should be okay with the situation. My priority is my child and we’ve been on plenty of teams before and this is not normal behavior.
Basketball has been different. Hard coaching? Hell yes. Teammates that work hard and have fun? Yes, there’s that too. There’s no mistreatment of players on any level, whether it be by the players or coaches.
I don’t know if I’m soft for pulling Youssouf out of soccer, but he was one of the new kids, immediately picked on multiple times, and as a parent I wasn’t consulted multiple times. If a situation is bad, let’s get out. Life’s too short and when these players choose these AAU programs or college programs, the one thing that they want more than anything else (and I sort of realize it now) is that you want to be able to trust the coaches with your kid.
Its pretty basic, but that’s it. That’s the secret sauce. And coaches who build that level of trust end up end up being the most successful coaches (among other things). I’m pretty sure of that. And trust can look a lot different, there’s the warm and fuzzy feeling with Joey McGuire and then there’s Nick Saban who displays the idea of trust in how he turns players into professionals.
If that trust is eroded, then you can guess what happens with the program.