An assistant football coach at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga lost his job after smearing Stacey Abrams and the state of Georgia in a Twitter post that perpetuated baseless allegations of election fraud, university officials said Thursday.
Coach Chris Malone was in his second season as an assistant and offensive line coach for Mocs, according to a biography that was removed from the university’s athletics website.
Mr Malone made disparaging remarks about Ms Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate and former leader of the Democratic House of Georgia, on Tuesday night following the US Senate run-off in Georgia – a race won by Democrats to give them control over the Senate.
“Congratulations to the state of GA and Fat Albert @staceyabrams, because you really showed America the real works of election fraud again !!!” Mr. Malone wrote. “Enjoy the Big Girl buffet! You won it !!! I hope the money is good, not a governor yet! “
Mr. Malone later deleted the post, but not before other people took the screen and shared it on social media.
“This tweet was hated, hurtful and untrue,” said Stephen R. Engle, the university’s chancellor, in a video posted by the university on YouTube on Thursday. “Coach Malone is no longer part of this university.”
Mr Angle said Mr Malone did not live up to the expectations of university professors and staff to lead in a way that maintains a respectful and tolerant environment on campus.
“The University of Tennessee in Chattanooga does not tolerate and unequivocally condemns discrimination and hatred in all its forms,” Mr Angle said.
Efforts to reach Mr. Malone were not immediately successful. His Twitter account was deactivated and no phone number was provided for his Chattanooga address.
Ms. Abrams is credited with helping President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. run the country in November and the victories of the two Democratic senator candidates this week. She has struggled to suppress black voter turnout across the country.
UT-Chattanooga has about 12,000 students. Mocs is playing in the Southern Conference, which has postponed competition in autumn sports, including football, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rusty Wright, a senior football coach at the university, said in a statement that a member of his staff had crossed the line with a post on a social network.
“What has been posted on social media by a member of my staff is unacceptable and is not part of what I stand for or what Chattanooga Football means,” Mr Wright said.