Students at Bethune-Cookman University are publicly voicing their displeasure with the adminstration after Ed Reed’s contract as head football coach was rescinded, reports WESH.
On Tuesday, protests broke out on the school’s campus and the surrounding streets.
“We voice concerns. We send emails all the time,” Janaya Jones, student body vice president said. “No response so this is what it has come to.”
Tyrone Franklin Jr., the quarterback for the team, expressed his disappointment after Reed was let go.
“We have a voice and we should use that voice,” Frankin said.
“I think him showing what we're going through as a student body should be shown. Many people have been saying this for a long time,” he added.
Since Reed's dismissal, over 20 players had signed a petition saying the treatment of Reed was “unjust,” according to a photo shared by Wildcats running back Branden McDonald on Twitter.
“We firmly believe that the abrupt dismissal of our newly hired head coach Ed Reed is unjust not only to the student-athletes but to the entire BCU family, and community and does not align with our founders’ legacy,” the player's petition read.
Not only were students protesting Reed’s dismissal, but they also shed light on some conditions of the school's facilities. The students shared photos of broken doors, and mold in dorm rooms. Some pictures showed mold growing on their stuffed animals.
“The first couple of months I was here, I really was sick because of the mold. My shower makes my skin break out because like they don't really care about the health of their students,” BCU student Saeeda Suber said.
Back in December 2022, Reed was hired by Bethune-Cookman to lead the school’s football program. Shortly after being hired, Reed went took to social media to point out how his office has not been cleaned and accused BSU and other HBCUs of lacking a success mindset.
"Do something about it, man," he said in the video. "Come help us clean this s--t up! ... I should leave. I'm not even under contract."
“Theses MFs didn’t even clean my office when I got here !” he continued.
Eventually, he offered an apology for his actions.
“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. I am fully aware of the hard-working folks at our school who are also fighting to make things better and more financially sound. I am encouraged from my communication with my AD and our administration and understand it’s a work in progress. My passion is about getting and doing better and that goes for me too.”
Less than a month after he was hired, Reed’s contract was not ratified by Bethune-Cookman.
In a letter posted on the school's website, President Lawrence M. Drake II explained that Reed’s behavior did not represent the values of the storied HBCU.
"To close the chapter on Mr. Reed, he was a tremendous player. Still, as we continued to observe him, we felt that his behavior was not aligned with the traditions of our founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and the university," the letter read.
Addressing the football team for the final team, Reed gave a passionate speech about his regret of not being able to take Bethune-Cookman to the next level.
"My vision is probably moving too fast for a lot of people," Reed said in the video. "I'm not withdrawing my name as they say. They don't want me here. They do not want me because I tell the truth. It hurts. This hurts because people don't care about these kids like I do, and they should be the ones leaving, not me because I don't want to."
Appearing on Unfiltered with Roland Martin, Reed, overcome with emotions said, "I turned down the Jackson State job to come here, Roland Martin. Deion Sanders called me himself." He added that Grambling also offered him a position as head coach.
Considered one of the greatest safeties of all time, Reed starred for the Baltimore Ravens for 12 seasons in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl in 2013 and earned a first-ballot enshrinement with the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2019
Before coming to Bethune-Cookman, Reed was an advisor at the University of Miami, his alma mater.