Netflix’s Last Chance U rebooted itself in its third season by switching focus from East Mississippi Community College to the football program at Independence Community College in Kansas. There, we were introduced to Jason Brown, an often crass and combative head coach who could also show a softer side for his players. That dichotomy was one of the things our own Ben Koo found challenging about the season:
Independence head coach Jason Brown is no saint by any means. For most of this season, I went back and forth on my opinion on him. There are moments where you’d like to see him be the bigger man when he butts heads with players. There are times he takes things way too far and you question if his behavior is detrimental to the team. The school’s president certainly vocalizes his disdain of how crass Brown can be in public and worries about the direction of the team under Brown’s leadership.
…Brown boils over many times, but to some degree, we’re left to wonder if his often belligerent demeanor and attitude is part of the special sauce of his coaching success. However, Brown’s worst moments are often counterbalanced with moments of compassion, self-deprecation, humor, and throughout the season, brutal honesty.
Brown might have had a unique way of motivating players but that sharp tongue could certainly overstep and had the potential to get Brown into trouble, which is exactly what happened Thursday.
According to KGGF NewsRadio, a former player has made public a fiery text exchange between him and Brown that includes some rather unfortunate comments.
Alexandros Alexiou told reporters that Brown had texted him to meet to discuss a disciplinary issue. When Alexiou, who is German, pushed back about the discipline point system, Brown allegedly unloaded on him. The coach referred to the student-athlete as a “German (expletive that seems to include the F-word)” and then said, “I’m your Hitler now figure out your life.”
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) February 21, 2019
Later on the in conversation, Brown tells the student that he’s off the team and that he was taking him off his “(expletive) scholarship.”
Referring to yourself as Hitler to a German kid is, at best, insensitive. But it also implies that if Brown feels loose enough to converse with his players in that manner in a private text, what else is he saying to them, what other names is he calling them, and at what point is he overstepping into bullying young people left in his care? There’s a line when it comes to football coaches, where being motivational and being a negative presence can overlap very quickly.
In a statement to KOAM/FOX14, ICC President Dan Barwick said: “Independence Community College does not condone the language Coach Brown used in his message. I have spoken with Coach Brown about his message to the student, and he fully understands that his language was not appropriate. The college is investigating the matter and will have no further statement at this time.”
According to KGGF NewsRadio, the Independence Board of Trustees is holding an executive session Thursday evening for a “discussion of a personnel issue.”