Mike Leach’s Twitter activity has gotten him into trouble once again.
Leach, now the head coach at Mississippi State following lengthy runs at Washington State and Texas Tech, has more than 350,000 followers and regularly sends out what are meant to be humorous memes.
Some of them are quite funny, but one he sent out on Wednesday night caught quite a bit of flak.
According to the Clarion Ledger, Leach sent out an image that “depicted an elderly woman with knitting sticks in her hands.” The caption read, “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf.” Except the image did not show a scarf; it showed a noose.
Leach, who is entering his first season at MSU, deleted the tweet and apologized Thursday after it drew criticism from some of his players, including seniors Erroll Thompson and Kobe Jones. An MSU professor said the tweet was offensive, a message that Thompson seemed to agree with.
Margaret A. Hagerman, an assistant professor of sociology at MSU who received a Ph.D from Emory University in 2014, was much more profound in her response to Leach's tweet. She said "lynching 'jokes' are incredibly offensive anywhere" and "especially in Mississippi."
She also suggested that Leach delete the tweet and visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice to learn about "this brutal history." Thompson retweeted Hagerman's tweet, which was sent out at 11:41 p.m. Wednesday. Leach's tweet went out at 7:44 p.m.
Leach’s tweet, which had more than 4,000 likes, was deleted on Thursday morning. Later Thursday, Leach issued the following apology:
I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive. I had no intention of offending anyone.
— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) April 2, 2020
Leach’s previous Twitter controversies
Back in February, Leach sent out and later deleted tweets critical of Sen. Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator to vote against President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial.
“As an American, does ANYONE, REALLY want Mitt Romney on their side?!” one tweet from Leach, a Trump supporter, read.
In another, Leach asked, “Those that believe in the competence of Mitt Romney, what do you trust him to do?”
When asked by USA Today why he deleted the tweets, he said there was “nothing really to report” and that he “thought it was drawing more attention than it deserved.”
In 2018 during his time at Washington State, Leach tweeted out a doctored video of President Barack Obama and asked his followers for their thoughts. The video was edited to make it appear like Obama was saying things much differently than he actually was during a 2014 speech.
Leach eventually deleted the video after engaging in back-and-forth spats with many Twitter users. Leach later said he was “not particularly sorry” for posting the video and also publicly went after a reporter who criticized him.
Washington State said the situation cost the university $1.6 million in pledged donations.
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