In this Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed displays his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during a halftime ceremony at an NFL football game between the Ravens and the New England Patriots in Baltimore. The Ed Reed Foundation announced on social media Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, that Bethune-Cookman declined to ratify Reed's 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.” (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

By Reginald Williams,
Special to the AFRO

“Bethune Cookman University has announced that Ed Reed has withdrawn his name from consideration to become the next head football coach at the university,” read the email submitted to Reed on the morning of Jan. 21. 

Responding before a room filled with parents, players and volunteers, an emotional Reed made it clear that he had not withdrawn his name.

“I’m not withdrawing my name as they’re saying. They don’t want me here because I’m telling the truth,” Reed said.  

Last week, the former Baltimore Ravens Hall of Famer furnished a series of live profane-laced social media rants, spotlighting some alleged apathy by the university’s leadership. In one of his less controversial posts, Reed, riding on campus in a golf cart, shows the deplorable conditions of the track field.

“Prime [Colorado coach Deion Sanders] was not wrong about what he was saying,” said Reed. 

“All y’all out there with your little opinions, you’re full [of] crap, you don’t know s—,” he added.

“I see it all too clearly. All our HBCUs need help. And they need help because of the people who’s running it,” he added. “There are broken mentalities out here. I’ve been here for a week-and-a-half and have done more than people who have been here in freakin’ years. And I’m not even hired yet—a damn shame.”   

Reed issued an apology to BCU days later. 

I would like to sincerely apologize to all BCU staff, students, and alumni for my lack of professionalism. My language and tone were unacceptable as a father, coach, and leader,” he said. “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.”

Reed’s vitriolic rant struck a chord with the alumni of historically Black colleges and universities nationwide. 

Dr. Jason Johnson, a Morgan State University professor, was visibly disturbed.  “I am sick and tired of these drive-by, fly-by-night political analysts, journalists, and now apparent former NFL playing coaches who want to march into HBCUs—have not been there all of five minutes—and then attempt to lecture, not only the school and students but the entire country on the almost 200-year history of historically Black colleges and universities as if they know something because they walked through the quad,” he said. “It’s not just insulting what Ed Reed said because it shows not only a lack of professionalism, but it shows a deeper level of disrespect that all too many African-American professional athletes have for HBCUs.”

John Mitchell, former Washington Wizards beat writer and Howard University graduate, felt it was “inexcusable to have Reed walk into such a mess.” But, Darryl Towns, president of NC A&T Alumni, New York City Chapter, said there was no excuse for his tirade. 

“Ed Reed comes from the Brickyard, an impoverished community in St. Rose, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. He goes to Miami to play football, one of the most powerful and well-funded programs nationwide. He becomes a Hall of Fame football player. Return to his alma mater as an administrator. Now he comes to Bethune, apparently clueless that they suffer the same kind of poverty he experienced growing up. Seems like he forgot what the Brickyard was. Maybe Mr. Reed should have done a better job of investigating the offer before accepting it,” said Towns. 

In addressing the parents and players in his unofficial farewell speech, Reed made his way to the podium and spoke like a Baptist preacher on Sunday morning. 

“Temporary. Temporary,” intoned Reed. “We never know the day nor the hour. None of us know when that time will come…. This hurts. This hurts because these people don’t care about these kids like I do, and they should be the ones leaving and not me.” 

Explosive emotions—tears by Reed and some players, and laughter—followed Reed’s passionate words.

“You know I don’t wanna leave. And like I told you, I want all you recruits. But they have 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,” shouted Reed. “I got the receipts. They got all kinds of stuff going on round here—hoarding these buildings with nothing but trash…. You understand me? And Deion was right. And I know I’m right. And I’m working amongst Judas as Jesus walked with him. I didn’t have a problem with it. Cause even Jesus prevailed. And what God got for you no man can take.”

Then, with a figurative mic drop, Reed proceeded to his office and wrote “Gone” on a notepad, ending his extremely brief stint as the Florida HBCU’s head football coach. 

After Reed’s departure, Bethune-Cookman released a statement saying it had decided not to proceed with contract negotiations with Reed.

“While we appreciate the initial interest in our football program displayed by Mr. Reed during the course of recent weeks, we are also mindful of the qualities and attributes that must be exhibited by our institutional personnel during what have been uniquely challenging times for our campus as we recover from the impact of two hurricanes during this past fall semester,” the statement read. 

Reginald Williams, the author of “A Marginalized Voice: Devalued, Dismissed, Disenfranchised & Demonized” writes on Black men and Holistic Health concerns. Please email bookreggie@reginaldwilliams.org or visit amvonlinestore.com for more information.

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Reginald Williams

Special to the AFRO

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