During the last few weeks, the situation is worrying Ed Reed‘with short internship as head football coach at Bethune-Cookman University transcended debates among those in Daytona Beach, Florida, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as a conversation about the struggles some of these institutions face — and why things are what they are – they hijacked the antics of one individual.
Ed Reed keeps getting in Ed Reed’s way. And that is the main reason why “he is not SWAC.”
What found out with Reed
Over the span of about 10 days — via social media — we’ve watched Reed ignorantly and cluelessly rant about “broken mentalities” that all leaders at HBCUs supposedly have, chatter about conditions at a school still dealing with the aftermath of a pandemic and the aftermath of a campus-altering hurricane, to apologize for being unprofessional due to too much passion and then throw more expletive-filled tantrums on Instagram Live and media appearances, all because BCU leadership had the wisdom to part ways with a man who had proven himself incapable of leading a Division I football program at a school founded by one of the world’s greatest educators, humanitarians and civil rights activists — Mary McLeod Bethune.
“My vision of change is probably moving too fast for a lot of people,” Reed said in one of his videos. “I’m not withdrawing my name as they say, they don’t want me here.”
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The official announcement of the school makes no mention of Reed withdrawing his name, as it points to “the qualities and attributes that must be displayed by our institutional staff during a time that has been uniquely challenging for our campus as we recover from the impact of two hurricanes this past fall semester.” , which was the reason why they did not continue to negotiate a contract with him.
Two things happened after the school’s decision — one positive and one negative.
The bad thing is that once again, too many black and white people who have no connection or desire to understand HBCU culture or the history of these institutions have become overnight scholars of what should and should not happen because they somehow magically understood more a century’s worth of context, facts and experiences to come up with a solution that will instantly transform BCU into a utopia. Here’s why Deion Sanders was one of Reed’s biggest supporters throughout all of this, as Reed was “prepared” and ready to follow in his footsteps as a false savior for HBCU sports. Sanders used and quit HBCUs and Jackson State when he fled to Colorado. So he gave Reed similar advice disguised as God’s command.
“Sometimes, Ed, you have to get away from my brother,” Sanders said. I know it’s hard. I know you don’t want to hear that. But sometimes in life we have to leave. You didn’t let anyone down, Ed. You didn’t let those kids down, you did what you had to do and you did your best.
“You know what God wants from you — be it. Don’t let them provoke you, my brother.”
The positive side of this situation is that BCU students have begun to speak up about the problems they face on campus and hold leadership accountable — pushing them to do better. For the past few days, students have been protesting on campus and they used social media to express their concernsthe the university president acknowledged the mold problemsand as members of the football team we have seen evidence that what is needed is lacking in certain areas they shared helmets during the game.
Calling for change
Young people have always been a catalyst for change, because their voices and desire to be heard and recognized are the foundation for progress — preventing stagnation. Student protests at HBCUs are part of the culture and experience. It is nearly impossible to find an HBCU student who has not been involved in or witnessed some type of protest on their campus during their graduation. Just take a look Samuel L. Jackson, because he was expelled from Morehouse College during the late 1960s for his role in locking board members into the building as part of a group protesting the school’s management and curriculum.
Protesting is a rite of passage at an HBCU, and this generation of students at BCU is having its moment. However, it’s fair to be skeptical — and take note — that legitimate student protests could have occurred before Reed even showed up on campus, as problems existed before his arrival.
Nevertheless, we have arrived at a moment where change and progress are destined to happen on that campus. But unfortunately, the attention on that campus, its students, and the improvements that will be made will not get the attention that the drama that preceded it did.
That’s what’s so frustrating about the Reeds and Sanders of the world, because the attention BCU and JSU have gotten could have been eternal had they come to the door ready to ask “what can we do for you?” rather than being fixated on what those schools and their cultures can do for them.
Bethune-Cookman University and Jackson State University are two proud institutions that are pillars of the HBCU landscape. In the grand scheme of things, Reed and Sanders will be footnotes in the history of those schools. And that might be the saddest part of all, given that these would be chapters if it weren’t for Deion Sanders’ selfishness and Ed Reed’s lack of decency. There’s no point shining a spotlight on something if you’re not going to be around long enough to see it.