Venice High School's head football coach helped the Venice Indians win a state championship just four months ago, but that didn't matter when the coach liked a tweet some considered offensive. Coach John Peacock was fired from the team after liking a tweet posted by one of his players.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Bradenton Herald | Coach Curt Bradley </span>
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Peacock has a rivalry with Braden River High School coach Curt Bradley and when one of Peacock's players posted a tweet poking fun at Bradley's skin color, it resulted in his termination. Peacock issued a statement saying he thought the joke was about him using spray tan and had no idea Bradley was biracial.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">John Peacock's statement after being fired as head coach of the Venice High football team <a href="https://twitter.com/VeniceIndianFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@VeniceIndianFB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/VHSIndianSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@VHSIndianSports</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/htpreps?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@htpreps</a> <a href="https://t.co/KueCeMx2Ct">pic.twitter.com/KueCeMx2Ct</a></p>— Dennis Maffezzoli (@maffsports) <a href="https://twitter.com/maffsports/status/989169155394949121?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 25, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The "offensive" tweet was posted by one of the Venice Indian players and asked, "Is this what you use Coach Bradley?" Accompanying the tweet was a photo of a spray tan bottle. Bradley issued a statement of his own in response to the tweet saying, "I am all for healthy rivalry and competition, however, as educators and adults who are very influential in the development of young minds, we must be extremely careful to not cross lines."
A former Venice HS football player named Dino Fanti said, "It’s just disappointing to see something like this happen to such a good person." Peacock's own statement said, "I thought this to be a joke about him using spray tan, I had no clue he was multiracial. I did not come out publicly to defend myself when this occurred because I was asked not to. Nothing was intended to be racist."
Another Venice player named Monte Jacobs also commented on the situation saying, "I was shocked, I feel bad for him personally. You just move on. You can't look back or you miss what's going on looking forward. We're just gonna keep looking forward."
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Peacock will still be allowed to teach at the school but will no longer be coaching the Venice Indians football team. In his apology, Peacock took one final stab at Bradley after he was penalized for holding illegal practices. "I'm appalled at Coach Bradley's desperate attempt to exploit today’s racial tension to distract from the disgrace he has brought to his program," Peacock wrote.
From there, Peacock's statement took a self-righteous turn:
"This has happened because I was the coach that finally stood up and exposed Coach Bradley for cheating in order to protect the integrity of high school football. I knew this could be an outcome of that decision, and I was willing to accept that. As sad and unfortunate as it is, it was the right thing to do and I would do it again."
Venice High School principal released a statement saying, "Venice High School would like to thank Coach John Peacock for his years of service as our head football coach. His leadership yielded a recent State Championship and Florida Coach of the Year honors. We are pleased to announce Coach Larry Shannon to serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the spring football season. We thank John for his dedication as head coach and look forward to his successes in the classroom."
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