A former Illinois State University football coach said his sudden departure from the program last week came after some players were offended by a sign he posted on his office door that read: “All Lives Matter to Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.”
Kurt Beathard, the son of former National Football League quarterback and general manager Bobby Beathard, was in his third season as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the Redbirds when it was announced last Wednesday that he was no longer part of the program.
Beathard, who was in his second stint with the school after taking time off during his wife’s battle with cancer, told The Pantagraph daily newspaper that his sudden departure from the program came after he posted the sign on his office door.
While three sources close to the football team told the newspaper that a “Black Lives Matter” poster was taken down from the football locker room, Beathard said he had nothing to do with removing anything from the locker room but took down a similar sign posted on his office door.
“That locker room crap is wrong,” Beathard said. “I took the sign down somebody put on my door. That’s it. I didn’t take anything off that wasn’t put on my door. I wrote the message.”
Beathard’s departure comes after some student-athletes called for a boycott earlier this month after Athletic Director Larry Lyons told athletes on a Zoom call that “all Redbird lives matter.”
A paraphrase of the saying “All Lives Matter,” many left-leaning activists have decried that phrase and accused those who use it of trying to delegitimize the fight against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
An “Athletics March for Black Voices” was held on Sept. 4. Lyons has since apologized for saying “all Redbird lives matter.”