Oregon State Head Coach Jonathan Smith acted swiftly when he learned a member of his football team used racist and homophobic language on an old audio recording. After consulting with the school’s Athletic Director Scott Barnes, the third-year coach dismissed sophomore Rocco Carley from the team, according to the Salem Statesman Journal.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Smith said he and Barnes found what they heard “entirely unacceptable, regardless of the circumstance or envinronment.”
Barnes also issued a statement, noting he and Smith shared a disgust with the comments made and wholeheartedly agreed Carley’s dismissal from the team was the “necessary and appropriate action.”
The audio appears to have been first posted to the Twitter account of Francesca Piccirilli (@francescapic3). It is unclear what, if any, connection exists between Carley and the owner of the now-private account.
Carley later issued a statement apologizing for the audio, claiming they showed “stupid things” he had said three years earlier with friends. According to Carley, the incident was a satirical example of a stereotypical Southern man.
“To my family, my community, and everyone I have associated with, I am sorry,” Carley said in the state. “This does not condone anything of what I have said, but I promise to you all that this video does not represent me. I was doing an accent of a Southern man and giving a very satire example of what we all thought would be funny. This in no way, shape or form makes what I said right.”
While the situation is particularly ugly set against the backdrop of national protest against the death of George Floyd and violence by police against Black bodies, Carley’s departure and the handling of the situation by Coach Smith earned praise from at least one of the team’s remaining players.