Source – An assistant high school football coach in Wake County is out of a job after a video showing him making racist remarks was posted to Instagram.
“15 seconds of fame in the wrong way. I’ve ruined the last 12 years of my career,” John Hoskins told ABC11 exclusively.
He said it happened one fun night at the bar. The 32-year-old coach at Knightdale High School was celebrating the team’s win against Corinth Holders High, when he shouted: “White power, Knightdale. I still love you, N—–“
“Just to set the record, I’m not racist,” Hoskins told ABC11 on Tuesday. “I don’t mean it in a negative way.”
Hoskins said he was caught up in a celebratory moment with friends both black and white.
He said through the years, his friends who are black have said it was OK for him to use the n-word.
“I guess I’ve been around them for so long. We’re friends. I mean nothing from it,” he said. “The word can be used in multiple ways. They treat me as any of their own friends.”
Out of fear of being a distraction to the team, Hoskins said the next day, he wrote a one-sentence letter to Knightdale’s principal and to the head coach, apologizing and resigning.
Hoskins said the players on the majority-black team also accepted the words.
“They joke around. We joke around. They walk up to me and say it. ‘Hey coach, just say it. You’re a good coach. Just say it.’ Once in a while, it slips,” he said. “Once a year, it slips. To have them smile and laugh. Besides that, I mean nothing from it.”
Do I think a guy should lose his job of 12 years because he said something regrettable and stupid on social media? Not necessarily. It would be nice if we were all given a few sort of Verbal Mulligans that we can use as we need them. Maybe a like three automatic take-back coupons that we can redeem any time over the course of our adult lives, just to cancel out our bad moments, gut reactions and slips of the tongue, and everyone in the Cancel Culture is required to honor them without demanding your head roll.
Notice I said, “it would be nice.” We don’t live in that world. Until we do, I’m having a really hard time working up much sympathy for John Hoskins. Look, I get that he’s a football coach. Speaking just from my own experiences of being a low-level defensive assistant in a youth program for 11 years, it’s not a pursuit that attracts mentally well-adjusted people. And I’m certain it gets worse the higher up the ranks you go. So I can only imagine what kinds of deranged lunatics last 12 years at the high school level. But you don’t have to have the serene wisdom of the Dalai Lama to know you don’t yell “White Power” and drop N-bombs, no matter how many of your black players and coaching buddies supposedly said you can because “you’re a good coach.” It doesn’t work like that. They don’t offer permission slips that excuse you for saying whatever you want in public because you know how to draw the End-Tackle Cross blitz. Or in private, for that matter.
I’m sorry that a man lost his job over a bad moment he can’t take back. Truly I am. But it’s not like Hoskins was being held to an impossibly high standard of conduct. If ever the Dwight Shrute standard of behavior applied to any situation, it’s this.
Before you go doing things, ask yourself “Would a real White Supremacist say this?” And if he would, do not do those things. No matter how good a coach you are.
P.S. This is only marginally related, but I’ll take any chance to tell this story, so indulge me. Back in the late ’60s when the Patriots were perennially terrible, they had a head coach named Clive Rush, who literally wound up having a mental breakdown. In the middle of an era of massive racial strife, following the Watts Riots and the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and Forced Busing, Rush had this idea to form what he called The Black Power Defense, an 11-man unit of all African-American players. The problem – other than the obvious that it was an inherently terrible idea and all his coaches and players told him as much – was that he didn’t have 11 black defensive players, since AFL rosters were only like 42 guys. So he planned to switch enough players from offense to make it happen. So against the Houston Oilers, down 7-0 and looking at the 3rd & long, he sent The Black Power Defense onto the field. Given the fact that some of his players were offensive linemen and receivers who had never played a down of defense in their lives, it was no surprise to anyone (other than Rush) that they left someone wide open for the 1st down. And it was never employed again. I like stories. It’s football coaches without a shred of common sense I can do without.