Advertisement

Desmond Oliver addresses kneeling controversy as ETSU men’s basketball coach

During Oliver’s introductory news conference, he was asked to address whether the kneeling controversy impacted his decision.
Desmond Oliver
Desmond Oliver(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Former University of Tennessee basketball coach Desmond Oliver was officially named head coach at East Tennessee State University Monday.

Oliver replaced Jason Shay who resigned after his first season. Under Shay, the ETSU men’s basketball team made headlines after the team kneeled during the National Anthem in February. Fans and local politicians criticized the team’s decision.

During Oliver’s introductory news conference, he was asked to address whether the kneeling controversy impacted his decision.

“It made me think. That’s normal right? I wanted to do my research and find out, hear stories of what was happening, what actually happened, and how did things happen. Sure,” Oliver said.

Oliver said he helped resolve the issue at UT when players wanted to kneel, by encouraging communication off the basketball court.

Oliver did not address if he will allow his team to kneel, stating the press conference wasn’t the time to talk about it. Oliver said he will lead a process of healing. He stated that the process would not happen overnight.

“That’s going to be our approach, is communicating,” Oliver said. “I want by the time our by the time we start playing, the 13 scholarship guys that we have to be so much better at communicating using their ability to talk to people, to create change, that no one is going to ask that question here in another month because they are going to know, ETSU men’s basketball team is in the community and they will put that to bed.”

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.