Before his sudden departure last week from the Illinois State football program, former assistant coach Kurt Beathard left a sign on his office door stating, "All Lives Matter to Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ."
The departure of Beathard, who was in his third season as the Redbirds' offensive coordinator after serving in the same role in 2014 and 2015, followed protests on campus this month after Illinois State Athletic Director Larry Lyons reportedly said to athletes in a Zoom meeting, "All Redbird lives matter."
Some Illinois State athletes organised a boycott of their program in the wake of that comment, for which Lyons reportedly apologised.
The Pantagraph cited sources last week in reporting that a "Black Lives Matter" poster was taken down recently in the Redbirds' locker room. Beathard told the newspaper he had nothing to do with that, but he suggested that he took down a similar poster placed on his office door and replaced it with the "All Lives Matter" sign.
"That locker room crap is wrong. I took the sign down and somebody put on my door. That's it," Beathard told The Pantagraph. "I didn't take anything off that wasn't put on my door. I wrote the message."
Lyons and a spokesman for the Redbirds' athletic department could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Illinois State athletics department announced on Wednesday that Beathard was "no longer with the football program." A pair of assistants, Ghaali Muhammad-Lankford and C.J. Irvin, will share the position of offensive coordinator.
The Vidette, Illinois State's student newspaper, reported last week that Beathard cleared his office and posted the sign before resigning his position.
Beathard has deep ties to the football world – he is the son of legendary NFL general manager Bobby Beathard and the uncle of San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard.
Kurt Beathard took a break from coaching in 2016 and 2017 in part because of his wife's battle with breast cancer. A Facebook account that appears to belong to Beathard had a post in June that indicated his wife died.
That Facebook account has also shared messages of support for President Donald Trump and criticism of football players' protests of racial injustice during the national anthem. Earlier in September, the account shared a message that asked people to "Pray for our president," and it included an image with the message, "Babies Lives Matter Also."
The Redbirds don't have a game until February; the Missouri Valley Football Conference postponed football until spring because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Washington Post
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