Published September 19, 2010
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami quarterback Jacory Harris said he received at least one racially motivated hate message following the Hurricanes' loss to Ohio State last weekend.
Harris said Sunday he received at least one comment on Twitter from someone saying the Hurricanes should not have "a black quarterback," making the revelation five days after the school told its football players to discontinue using the social messaging site.
"Not really worried about it," Harris said. "I know people say things like that. It's part of the sport. Got to get used to it."
Harris did not divulge exactly what was written or the sender's identity. He said he could not recall if the tweet contained any threats, and his Twitter account was deleted last week. The tweet he cited could not be found when searching Harris' former username Sunday.
It's far from the first time that racially insensitive comments have been directed toward Harris, who is black.
"It's flat-out wrong," Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. "It's sad. It's disappointing. In a position that we celebrate, living in one of the most diverse communities in our nation, to have this type of behavior is appalling. It's not tolerable. Jacory is a very talented young man. We'll just continue on focusing to do the right things and rise above these type of comments."
No. 19 Miami (1-1) visits Pittsburgh (1-1) on Thursday night. Harris threw four interceptions, matching a career-worst, in Miami's 36-24 loss to Ohio State on Sept. 11.
Harris used Twitter on Wednesday to apologize to fans for that performance, and said he skipped through many of the messages he received because they were mainly negative.
"You see some things and you get kind of hurt, because sometimes it's your fans that say the things," Harris said. "It'll be the ones that probably just before the game wrote you some encouraging message, then after the game say they don't want a black quarterback here. Stuff like that. It's cool."
Miami coach Randy Shannon told The Associated Press that the Twitter ban had "nothing" to do with the comment Harris received. Later, Shannon added that while it was "disappointing" that Harris was the subject of such reaction, the coach — a Miami native and Miami graduate — said he believes the school has "a tremendous fan base."
"We choose to focus on those positives rather than one individual, who chooses to make such ignorant comments," Shannon said. "It's sad that Jacory would be exposed to those types of statements. They have no place in our society and are not tolerated at the University of Miami."
In his weekly interview session with reporters, Harris said at least three different times that he was not letting the comments affect him, and urged media covering the team to take the same approach.
"It's happened before, but it's nothing that I'm worried about," Harris said. "I'm not worried about it, so you guys shouldn't be worried about it. I'm OK with it. It's not a problem. Not with me."
His teammates, however, clearly had a problem with the issue.
"Hearing something like that, coming here to a diverse school, you would think we're past that," said defensive lineman Marcus Forston, who was Harris' high school teammate at Miami Northwestern High. "That's in the past. We all came to this school together. We've got a diverse locker room, and in there, you don't want to hear anything like that."
Added linebacker Jordan Futch: "We're going to take it with a grain of salt and make it a positive thing. So they're saying that we don't need that type of quarterback or they're saying we're not good enough or that we're supposed to be winning championships? It's because we are supposed to be doing that."
Miami is the only BCS school in the country with black coaches for football (Shannon) and men's basketball (Frank Haith).
Harris said he's trying to center his energies around getting ready for Pittsburgh, not on the anonymous comments from fans, whether it was of the positive or negative variety.
"It is disheartening. It's something that you look it and it kind of brings you to tears, a little bit," Harris said. "But at the same time, you know it's just a comment. Nothing else will be taken after that. There will be no steps taken after that. That's his opinion. That's that person's opinion. Got to live with it."