A black football coach in New Mexico says he was fired for reprimanding middle school players for using racial slurs.
Thomas Davis, who is black, was terminated this week as assistant coach at Mesa Middle School, where he’d worked for two years, after confronting players for calling each other “n*gger” on the sideline during a game, reported KRQE-TV.
Davis first brought his concerns to head coach Gabriel Flores, who told the assistant it wasn’t his job to reprimand players, and the two men scuffled.
Flores called 911, and police officers told both coaches to leave the field — but only Davis was fired.
“I did what I’ve been trained to do, corral the incident,” Davis said. “If you’re not head in charge, you take it to the people in charge and let them handle it — and that’s exactly what I did.”
Davis said he’d spoken to the head coach before about the players casually using the racial slur, which he said was not directed at opponents or did not single out black players.
“I’ve addressed it several times with him, I’ve addressed the kids several times,” he said.
Davis said the players’ use of racial slurs had gotten out of control, but he said the episode escalated far beyond what he expected.
“The repercussions, from my part, I’m no longer a coach,” he said.
Davis addressed the incident Wednesday night at a Roswell School Board meeting, saying teachers and other school employees must make clear to students that racist language is unacceptable.
“We teach reading, writing, mathematics and stuff like that, but as educators we need to teach social skills also,” Davis told school officials.