Ringgold youth wrestling coach Doug Conroy told Channel 11 the school district is punishing his athletes after he posted a comment on Facebook calling two Ringgold football players “thugs.”
“I’ve been labeled a racist and a homophobe, all from the word ‘thug,’” Conroy said.
The district has banned the Lil Rams wrestling program from practicing on school property until Conroy quits or is fired.
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“I have coached for six years young athletes, every race, religion, creed, social background, and never once have I been accused of anything like that,” Conroy said.
Channel 11 covered the case in question. The two players are 18 and were arrested by police after allegedly beating another player on school grounds.
Conroy told us he stands by his comment, and that it's not a racist remark.
“The fact that someone took what I said out of context viewed it as offensive and tied a color to it is ridiculous to me,” he said.
Conroy received a letter from Ringgold's superintendent yesterday, saying, in part, “Conroy made inappropriate and racist comments regarding Ringgold students. Such conduct cannot and will not be tolerated,” and “the Ringgold school district does not have the authority to take action to fire him, they do have the authority to ban the Lil Rams wrestling program from using any of Ringgold’s facilities.”
Conroy said the school’s move came down without a board meeting or hearing and only hurts the kids on his team
“I think that is punishment for the kids,” he said. “You want me gone, you can make me gone.”
Channel 11 reached out to Ringgold's superintendent for comment and have not heard back.
Conroy has taken a temporary leave of absence, so he can continue to fight to remain coach, but also allow the kids to practice.
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