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Bethune-Cookman University sign.

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Former NFL star Ed Reed says one of the Bethune-Cookman University football players was suspended after protesting the school’s decision to rescind Reed’s contract as the school’s new head football coach.

According to Reed, Austin Yankowy, a senior member of the team, was suspended, but there has been no official word from the University. 

Reed confirmed the allegation by responding to a tweet from a user who was watching a BCU team meeting and couldn’t find Yankowy among the players.

“I was watching the BCU football team meeting, with some of the Alumni the other day, tweeted the user. “I noticed the young man who had been very vocal about BCU issues just happened to be missing from that meeting, Is he still at BCU, did the BOT’s suspend him?”

Reed responded to the tweet saying, “He was suspended.”

The news was then screenshot and retweeted by @yardtalkabcu, then retweeted by Austin Yankowy himself. 

Yankowy was extremely vocal about Reed’s firing as well as the lack of resources the school provides to the athletic programs. He and three other students expressed some of their concerns on Roland Martin’s YouTube show, Unfiltered. Yankowy also shared a viral video of Bethune-Cookman University football players sharing a helmet during a game, which shows a Bethune-Cookman player anxiously waiting on the sidelines for his helmet that was being used by another player. Due to the video only being 10 seconds long, there is little context to know the severity of the helmet shortage, but the game, which was played in 2022, was nationally televised.

The school’s decision not to ratify Ed Reed’s contract to become the head coach at BCU came after a series of expletive-filled videos decrying the conditions at Bethune-Cookman, including his office not being clean. In one of the Instagram videos, Reed also agreed with former Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders about HBCUs and their numerous issues.

“Prime [Sanders] was not wrong about what he was saying,” Reed said. “All HBCUs need help because of the people who’s running it. Broken mentalities out here.”

In another Instagram post, Reed captioned it by saying the university was forcing him out and he wasn’t withdrawing his name to coach the players.

“I am NOT withdrawing my name as the Head Coach at Bethune Cookman,” he wrote. “The administration and the AD are forcing me out. Thank you to all that supported me and my staff through this process. Good day and God bless.”

Some students were visibly upset at Reed’s departure, including Yankowy.

Last week, students gathered in protest on campus grounds, demanding the removal of the Board of Trustees over the inadequacy of several buildings on campus containing mold and the failed hire of Reed.

It’s hard to tell if Yankowy’s suspension is directly correlated to Reed, but it sure is a coincidence.


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