UPDATE, April 7: Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen said in a prepared statement that the university was "disappointed" in Leach for using an image of a noose in his since-deleted tweet.
"No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi," Cohen said.
Cohen also said that Leach will meet with take part in "listening sessions with student, alumni, and community groups" and will be provided "opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi."
Mike Leach often posts strange memes on his Twitter account, but his tweet Wednesday made a lot of people upset.
The first-year Mississippi State coach tweeted out a meme regarding the coronavirus quarantine. The meme showed a black-and-white photo of a woman knitting a noose with the caption: "After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf."
Leach's own Mississippi State players seemed bothered by the tweet. Erroll Thompson, who was a team captain in 2019, responded with a thinking face emoji (before deleting it). Defensive lineman Fabien Lovett and defensive end Kobe Jones replied to Leach's tweets with "WTF" and "he tripping."
Margaret A. Hagerman, a professor at Mississippi State (who has since gone into a private Twitter account), explained why the tweet was troublesome.
Margaret A. Hagerman, an assistant professor of sociology at MSU who received a Ph.D from Emory University in 2014, was much more profound in her response to Leach's tweet.
She said "lynching 'jokes' are incredibly offensive anywhere" and "especially in Mississippi." She also suggested that Leach delete the tweet and visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice to learn about "this brutal history."
Leach eventually deleted the tweet and offered up an apology the next day.
I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive. I had no intention of offending anyone.— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) April 2, 2020
This isn't the first time Leach has drawn criticism for something he's posted to Twitter. In February he ended up deleting tweets he sent about Mitt Romney. In 2018 he tweeted a fake video of President Barack Obama that USA Today reports cost his school $1.6 million.