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Local leaders speak out against racist post targeting FSU Coach Willie Taggart

Local leaders speak out against racist post targeting FSU Coach Willie Taggart
Local leaders speak out against racist post targeting FSU Coach Willie Taggart
Posted at 12:35 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 12:37:10-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Saturday the Florida State University football season came to an end with a crushing defeat against rival, the Florida Gators. 

It is not the way most fans wanted the season to end and some took it a step further. 

On Saturday, Tom Shand posted a racially-charged image on Facebook.

WTXL has chosen not to show that post but it includes a picture of FSU head coach Willie Taggart's head photo-shopped on top of a man who was lynched. 

On Sunday, Shand was identified as an employee of Hilton Grand Vacations.

FSU was made aware of the posting and President Thrasher condemned the post and issued the following statement: 

A recent racist social media post aimed at our football coach is ignorant and despicable. I speak for the entire FSU community in expressing our disgust and extreme disappointment and I am glad the state attorney is investigating. Coach Taggart has our full support and as true Seminoles know, he is a respected member of the FSU family.  

Hilton Grand Vacations fired Shand Monday and in a statement said "his behavior was a violation of multiple company policies." 

The state attorney general is investigating the post and the investigation is in the early stages. 

Local leaders condemned the post on Monday. Reverend R.B. Holmes spoke at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. 

"Those statements were very divisive, despicable, ignorant and demeaning and we cannot allow someone to do that in isolation," said Holmes. "We need to support the university and people who believe in civility and the man who made that statement he needs to know this community will not tolerate it." 

Reverend Holmes said it was important that the community stand behind President Thrasher's message.  

Shand's Facebook and Twitter accounts have been removed.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A local church is calling on the person who authored a post depicting FSU head coach Willie Taggart getting lynched to "apologize and seek help." 

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church is holding a press conference to address a racist post circulating social media that depicts FSU head coach Willie Taggart getting lynched.

Dr. R.B. Holmes, the pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, issued the following statement regarding the posts:

"The most recent racist remarks by an alleged fan is very disturbing and dangerous. These kind of comments that “Coach Taggart should be lynched,” are toxic and hateful. We support the strong statement of President Thrasher denouncing those comments. The entire FSU community, the religious and civil rights communities strongly condemn these comments. We will forever work toward what Dr. Martin Luther King called the, “Beloved Community.” In the spirit of peace and hope, we are asking the author of those comments to apologize and seek help."

The press conference will be held at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Monday at 1:30 p.m. 

On Monday, WTXL learned that the fan in question has been suspended from his job at Hilton Grand Vacations while "further action is being considered."