FSU community responds to racist photo of Coach Taggart

Students, fans, and faculty members alike come together in support of the coach

After Florida State's loss to UF on Saturday, alleged FSU fan Tom Shand took Facebook to express his grievances with Coach Taggart. Shand posted a horribly graphic photograph of an unknown victim of lynching, with Coach Taggart's face poorly superimposed onto it. The text on the photo said "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing your rep."

The post quickly garnered attention from the FSU community, who rallied behind Coach Taggart to denounce the racist photo.

The backlash ultimately led to Shand being fired, as well as an investigation into the incident by State Attorney Jack Campbell.

Campbell said Monday that the "active criminal investigation" will include FSUPD and the Leon County Sherriff's Office, and will review "The post and anything beyond that, any threats against Coach Taggart."

FSU President John Thrasher released a statement about the photo via Twitter on Sunday. Thrasher called the post "Ignorant and despicable," and expressed his "extreme disgust and disappointment" in the situation, as well as his praise of the impending investigation.

He went on to convey his full support for the coach, and said "True Seminoles know [Taggart] is a respected member of the FSU family."

Florida State fans, students, and faculty members alike, echoed Thrasher's sentiments across social media.

Regardless of how difficult the season has been for him and his team! This is never ok! I know college football is cool…

Posted by Gideon Ajagbe on Monday, November 26, 2018

Even Marco Rubio spoke out against the post, although he couldn't help but note that he was glad the Gators won the game.

The community's widespread rallying behind Coach Taggart and their continued pushback against blatant displays of racism is reassuring to say the least. It's especially salient during a time when Tallahassee is still reeling from high profile, racially-charged events, such as the Landis Green incident involving Shoup and the College Republicans, as well as the gun that was pulled on FAMU students at Stadium Centre.

Taggart, Florida State's first Black Head Coach, has yet to speak publicly about the incident.

Florida State University