ORLANDO, Fla. — Some of the UCF football team’s biggest stars are demanding the university fire Charles Negy, a psychology associate professor who has sparked protests with his controversial social media posts.
Senior running back Greg McCrae was the first to express his outrage on Twitter and was joined by other players, including quarterback McKenzie Milton.
“@CharlesNegy is a racist & sexist professor who is currently employed by my university,” McCrae wrote. “I do not condone comments and tweets that he has made openly disgracing others because of their race or gender. @UCF @UCFCartwright #UCFFirehim”
McCrae went on to write, “@UCF @UCFCartwright we are supposed to be a school that promotes diversity while your employee doesn’t and goes against the universities ethics.”
The university is investigating student complaints accusing Negy of classroom misconduct.
Students, faculty and alumni have denounced a post on Negy’s Twitter account shortly after the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a white Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd complained he could not breathe. The arrest was captured on cell phone video and sparked protests against police brutality and racial injustice in all 50 states and in other countries around the world.
Negy’s tweets posted on June 3 read: “Sincere question: If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming ‘systemic racism’ exists?
“This subgroup of Blacks has lots of problems (many likely missing fathers, having dysfunctional, uneducated mothers, surrounded by peers with sociopathic tendencies). Lots of obstacles in life. No one knows what the solution is to this complicated situation.”
McCrae’s teammates showed support for his comments.
Milton shared images of Negy’s tweets and a screen-grab of McCrae’s post on his Instagram account, adding the comment, “I stand by my brother.”
Milton then addressed Negy’s tweets directly, writing, “This type of stereotyping is straight bogus. Come to a UCF football team meeting one of these days professor and have that same kind of energy!! Or better yet call one of my African American teammates mothers uneducated to their face. Straight bogus..this is NOT what UCF is about.”
Defensive lineman Kenny Turnier wrote on Twitter, “Just wanted y’all to know that I attend a university where we have a racist & sexist teaching classes. #UCFfirehim.”
Fellow defensive lineman Randy Charlton shared McRae’s post while adding the emoji 100.
McCrae asked people to sign a change.org calling for Negy to be fired.
Negy has worked at UCF since 1998 and earned tenure in 2001, a status that can make it harder to fire him.
During an on-campus protest on June 13, UCF President Alexander Cartwright noted Negy had First Amendment rights to share his viewpoints.
“Your opinions matter, and we will to look into this,” Cartwright told protesters. “ … But we have to go through a process. We will not make a decision until we have enough information.”
Negy said he has been the subject of a witch hunt.
“They’re actively soliciting complaints against me because I’m a political inconvenience for them at the moment,” Negy said.
College athletes have pushed to have their voices heard more since the death of Floyd and the surge in global support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
McCrae isn’t the only UCF football player sharing his opinion on social issues.
Running back Otis Anderson posted his thoughts on racism in American in a series of tweets.
“To live in a country that once dumped drugs and guns into the middle of black poverty stricken communities by trains ‘breaking down,’” he wrote. “To live in a country where you are shamed upon because of the color of your skin and the hair on your head. Then to be called a domestic terrorist because your race has had enough of being shot while unarmed by police who ‘fear for their life’ or being hung because of the color of your skin. IF YOU DONT FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU WALK OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. Then you have no reason to tell anyone of color how to feel.
“It is not your place to speak on the feeling we are ‘supposed’ to have.”
©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)