College Football Player Seeks Transfer After Coach's Noose Tweet


A college football player has applied for a transfer days after his head coach deleted and apologized for a social media post that featured a tone-deaf meme about a noose.

Mississippi State defensive lineman Fabien Lovett said on Friday evening he has entered college football's transfer portal. The 20-year-old redshirt sophomore didn't specify why he was transferring, but his Twitter page was littered with reposts from other users critical of head coach Mike Leach and the school.

Leach on Thursday posted a meme in which a woman was depicted knitting a noose for her husband while bored at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The post struck a nerve in Mississippi, where the historic scars of the lynching of black people by whites remain fresh, and the noose serves as a symbol of white supremacy and terrorism.

Leach deleted and apologized for the hurtful post.

The tweet prompted quick disapproval from Lovett.

In 2015, two former University of Mississippi students were sentenced to prison time for placing a noose around the neck of a statue of civil rights icon James Meredith on the school's campus in Oxford.

Lovett is a native of Olive Branch, Mississippi, according to his bio page on the Bulldogs' website. The 6-foot-4 defensive end made First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll two years ago, the site said.

Leach was hired by Mississippi State in January after eight seasons at Washington State, where he led the Cougars to a 55-47 record. Leach previously coached at Texas Tech, where he went 84-43 as Red Raiders head coach from 2000-09.