NFL Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed broke the news to 26 recruits on Saturday that he would no longer be taking the reins of Bethune-Cookman University’s football team nearly a month after he was announced as the school’s next head coach.
He did so in an impassioned speech that was streamed live on Instagram. Some players could be heard choking back tears in the background of the video footage.
“Muthaf**kas!” Reed yelled as he slammed a football to the ground. “Yeah, I cursed and y’all done heard curse words before. … And no, I don’t want to leave, and like I told you, I want all of you recruits. But they got some corrupt people in this world, some evil people that don’t care about kids like I do!”
“So, I want y’all to hear the truth from me. I ain’t withdrawing my name. I got the receipts! They got all kind of stuff going on around here,” Reed continued. “And Deion [Sanders] was right, and I know I’m right; and they got some people here who be snitching to they a*s; and I ain’t have a problem with it. I’ll work amongst Judas as Jesus walked with him because even Jesus prevailed. What God got for you, no man can take.”
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The video came nearly an hour after Reed released a written statement saying B-CU would not ratify his contract and honor his verbal agreement with them.
“Bethune Cookman University has been working with my legal team to craft contract terms with the language and resources we knew were needed to build a successful football program,” Reed said in the statement. “It’s my desire to not only coach football, but to be an agent of change that most people just talk about being.”
“However, after weeks of negotiations, I’ve been informed that the University won’t be ratifying my contract and won’t make good on the agreement we had in principle, which had provisions and resources best needed to support the student athletes,” Reed’s statement continued. “I was committed to coaching and cultivating a relationship with the University, players, community and the fans. It’s extremely disappointing this won’t be happening.”
The announcement comes less than a week after Reed received widespread backlash for airing out his frustrations with the conditions at Bethune on social media. “Now I’m out here walking with the football team picking up trash. I should leave! I’m not even under contract doing this! Man get out of here,” Reed said in response to a user saying he was ‘mutting’ (which means trashing) the university.
He apologized for his rant on Jan. 16 in a statement. “I(n) regards to my social media and comments about the University, staff and other institutions, I would like to sincerely apologize to all BCU staff, students and alumni for my lack of professionalism,” Reed said.
“My language and tone were unacceptable as a father, coach and leader. My passion for our culture, betterment and bringing our foundation up got the best of me and I fell victim while engaging with antagonists on social media as well,” he continued.
Deion Sanders, who also recently received backlash for leaving HBCU Jackson State University to coach at the University of Colorado, called Reed to console him after the news of his firing.
“Hey, I love you man, you know that right,” Sanders began after joining Reed’s livestream. “We talked about this. We know the structure. We know the order. We know how it was gon’ play out. And you been there fighting. I know what you feeling. I know what you going through.”
“You gotta understand Ed; God has a time and a place for you my brother. … And I know your heart. I know how you feel about them kids and I know you do not want to leave those kids,” Sanders continued. “This is gon’ be the toughest thing you ever had to do in your life. Sometimes Ed you got to walk away my brother. I know it’s tough. I know you don’t want to hear it, but sometimes in life, we got to walk away.”
Social media users were divided in their stances on Reed’s departure. Some defended B-CU’s decision and said Reed should’ve seen his removal coming after publicly trashing the university one week into the job. Others said B-CU took a great loss for not wanting to be held accountable to higher standards.
“He shouldn’t have gotten on social media and trash the school/ job that just hired him. PWI would have fired him seconds after he got off the live,” @powwowasu tweeted in response to Reed’s ouster. “SMH I have no pity for him. Any problems he had could have been handled another way.”
“I hope Miami wants him back. I hope BC pays him for his time (and anything extra he did). But this was a no-brainer. You can’t walk up and slap your boss (at all but add in on the world stage–for good reason or not), and then show up to work on Monday,” @msblue echoed.
“Ed Reed will get a coaching job and a HC job later on. He made a mistake doing what he did. Some of yall don’t understand and won’t understand because you are blinded by celebrity ish,” @JayTisdale responded. “I got a challenge for you…. Right now put ur real name on SM and talk ish about ur job. Ijs.”
“I won’t speak as if I’m a Bethune Cookman graduate, but as one from Grambling — good riddance,” a Twitter user identified as Krystal Franklin tweeted. “As predicted, instead of only issuing the statement that the terms of his contract couldn’t be met, Ed Reed is already on Live doing the SAME things he apologized last week for.”
“The bashing of Bethune-Cookman University is unwarranted. Again, the work we do for our communities should be done humbly. Our ‘celebritism’ is a blessing that shouldn’t be used to whip in shape those we want to serve,” @Zay_McCray wrote.
“’Regular’ black folks are never given the benefit of the doubt. That man wasn’t spotlighting issues!!! As we’ve said, he wasn’t around long enough! Y’all are letting him be self-aggrandizing and absolving Ed Reed from what he did. This wasn’t random,” Randall Barnes tweeted.
“I feel and understand Ed Reed’s pain entirely,” wrote HBCU Campaign Founder Demetrius Johnson Jr. “I am so happy that he compassionately spoke up about how folks treat each other in the space. If you don’t kiss a**, this is the end result, no matter how much you care or commit to the job. This was my emotions about ten months ago.”
“Smh..what a damn shame,” @lala08 responded about Reed’s announcement.
“Ask yourselves do you think his intentions were bad or if he actually needed BCU…. If you answer No and no then the wrong decision was made. But I didn’t attend a HBCU,” user @KINGofMONSTARS tweeted.
“@TwentyER can’t help those that don’t want to be helped! Gotta do better HBCUs,” @BKendrick_ wrote. “Holding our own selves back! You can’t compete with top athletic programs, NIL deals, etc. with thousand dollar budgets and lackluster facilities!”
“Well there goes there endorsement leaving all his Miami teammates and nfl friends that could donate just left,” @JayO426 tweeted, adding. “so sad that the school will continue to look like that and there practice fields hopefully they seem this as a time to clean up the buildings.”
“This Ed Reed & Bethune situation is just as polarizing as Deion leaving Colorado,” DJ R-Tistic tweeted. “Lotta folks are on his side, while a lot feel he was out of pocket and they understand why BCU is cutting ties.”