|Florida A&M has reportedly let baseball coach Willie Brown go amid harassment allegations. (FAMU Photo)|
After weeks of speculation, it appears that Florida A&M has decided to part ways with embattled baseball coach Willie Brown. According to Tallahassee.com, Brown was informed of the university’s decision by a letter signed by FAMU interim president Larry Robinson.
Last November, Brown was accused of sexually harassing Vanyard Williams II, a walk-on outfielder who Brown cut from his team twice. Twenty-four of Brown’s former players provided witness statements in university investigation. Some said Williams threatened to accuse the coach of hazing should he be cut from the team.
In his letter, which was dated Jan. 24, Robinson clearly stated the reason for Brown’s dismissal.
“An investigation has been concluded by the office of Equal Opportunity Program pursuant to a complaint that was filed against you alleging sexual harassment,” Robinson wrote to Brown.“You were found to be in violation of Florida A&M Board of Trustee regulation. Based upon the foregoing, it is Florida A&M University’s intentions to dismiss you from employment as appropriate.”
Brown’s attorney, Steven Andrews, disputes the university’s claim.
“It’s unfair,” Andrews said. “It’s unwarranted and by their own report, it’s unproven. We are going to fight it. In front of an independent, unbiased tribunal, it’s a battle that we can win. Sure.”
The players were asked questions were as general as whether or not they had heard Brown use foul language, or as explicit as whether or not he told Brown he would dress him in a bra and panties.
No one should be surprised at this outcome. FAMU is less than two years removed from the tragic, hazing-related death of bad member Robert Champion, which has put a dark cloud over the university. Both the school’s longtime band leader and president resigned in the wake of Champion’s death and his parents are pursuing legal action against the university.
It’s hard to tell whether or not these allegations would stand up in a court of law. But in an era where HBCUs in general and FAMU in particular received negative publicity for hazing and harassment, perhaps the court of opinion was enough to seal Brown’s fate.