January 8, 2021
An assistant football coach for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been fired after posting a tweet disparaging former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and making unsubstantiated claims about election fraud during Tuesday’s Senate runoffs.
Chris Malone, who had just finished his second season with the Mocs, mocked Abrams’ appearance as well as her failed 2018 run for governor in the post, which has since been deleted.
“Congratulations to the state of GA and Fat Albert @staceyabrams because you have truly shown America the true works of cheating in an election again!!! Enjoy the buffet Big Girl! You earned it!!! Hope the money was good, still not governor!” Malone wrote, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Abrams, who formerly served in the Georgia House of Representatives, played an active role in garnering support for Democratic Sens.-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossof ahead of the state’s runoff elections.
It’s worth noting that a third-party voter registration group founded by Abrams, the New Georgia Project, was under investigation by the Georgia secretary of state’s office for “repeatedly and aggressively” seeking to register “ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters” ahead of the runoffs.
In response to the tweet, Malone was promptly fired and his bio page on the university athletics department website was removed. The university’s chancellor called the tweet “hateful, hurtful and untrue” in a video announcement of his removal.
“Last night, a totally inappropriate social media post by a member of our football staff was brought to my attention,” UT-Chattanooga athletic director Mark Wharton wrote in a statement Thursday morning. “The entire post was appalling. The sentiments in that post do not represent the values of our football program, our athletics department or our university. With that said, effectively immediately, that individual is no longer a part of the program.”
Head coach Rusty Wright added: “Our football program has a clear set of standards. Those standards include respecting others. It is a message our players hear daily. It is a standard I will not waiver on. What was posted on social media by a member of my staff is unacceptable and not any part of what I stand for or what Chattanooga Football stands for. Life is bigger than football and as leaders of young men, we have to set that example, first and foremost. With that said, effectively immediately, that individual is no longer a part of my staff.”
Statements below from head coach Rusty Wright and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton. https://t.co/qRbQgbrvi3
— Chattanooga Football (@Chattanooga Football)1610028579.0
Malone was hired by the Mocs in 2019 to serve as an offensive line coach and formerly worked as a coach at Old Dominion, James Madison, Virginia State, and UMass.