Community leaders, fans react to racist Facebook posting about coach Taggart


By: Lanetra Bennett | News from the WCTV eyewitness
November 26, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – A Florida state supporter was convicted and lost his job after a post on FSU coach Willie Taggart.

The man posted a photo on a Facebook page of the FSU fan following Saturday's loss to the University of Florida. The image shows a black man hanging by a lasso from a tree, with Taggart's face superimposed on the body.

The post is getting a huge response on social media and across the community.

FSU student Gary Bitz said: "It's clearly disruptive, it just shows that it's just unnecessary to blame the wrong person.

"I do not think it has anything to do with his race, I think these people are just saying those things arbitrarily and they are just upset, they have certain kinds of point of view," said Gabriel Dominguez, an FSU student.

Henry Powell, a long-time FSU fan, added, "They're wrong because they do not really know him that way.I feel like in my heart, you have to give someone a chance.This is your first year here."

"This is disgusting.It's absolutely horrible.I understand.It's just a game, people. People need to relax and realize itÂ's just a game.You do not have to attack a person or be racist about it.It's 2018, we should be much more, "said Ajay Dhagwandin, an FSU student.

"These comments are despicable, deplorable, dangerous and disturbing," said Rev. R.B. Holmes, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee.

Rev. Holmes says he is surprised that someone feels comfortable expressing what he calls racist animosity in social media.

He wants the person who posted the photo of coach Taggart to be sorry.

"He has the right to comment, but not the right to tarnish a person's character and ask that a person be literally hanged." Then he said he wanted to say what he said, "said Reverend Holmes.

Tallahassee commissar Curtis Richardson says he is outraged.

He says an excuse is not enough and he wants the man to be sued.

"I'm tired of the excuses because when people say things like these and do things like that, it comes from their heart. I just can not believe that an apology is sincere," said Commissioner Richardson alongside Rev. Holmes and others pastors and community leaders during a press conference on Monday.

Rev. Lee Johnson, a Tallahassee pastor also present at the press conference, says the post was deliberately racist.

"There are other coaches all over the country, Scott Frost in Nebraska, who is white." His performance was not the same, but no one posted any epithets hanging on him, which is something that relates to black people and we do not tolerate it, "Rev. Johnson said.

"It was not a symbolic thing, it actually happened, and for him to post something like that on social media was absolutely appalling," said Commissioner Richardson.

Rev. Holmes says words matter. He is worried that posting on Facebook may be followed by action of the man who posted or who may incite others to harm coach Taggart.

University President John Thrasher issued a statement this weekend calling the charge despicable. On Monday, he told WCTV that the man needs to understand that he has made a serious mistake.

The social media post is now the focus of a criminal investigation.

The FSU Police, the Leon County Sheriff's Office, and the State Attorney are investigating.


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