Some six hours after West Virginia football sophomore Kerry Martin tweeted out a list of concerns and issues with two staffers of the WVU football program, the school has responded by placing the one he identified on administrative leave.
“I want to thank Kerry Martin for having the courage to bring his concerns to light. We will not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination or bias on our campus, including our athletic programs,” WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said in a prepared statement. “Coach Vic Koenning has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, and the department will work with the appropriate parties to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. This is serious, and we will act appropriately and in the best interests of our student-athletes.”
In a series of tweets earlier on Tuesday, Martin noted several issues with Koenning, including some that he believed had racial overtones, while also noting that he believes the veteran coach “is not a bad person and does mean well” in some aspects. Still, said Martin, “his heinous actions toward us overrules the good things he has done.”
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Martin also shared a report that he allegedly received from his high school coach, Jon Carpenter, labeling Koenning as possessing a ‘Slave Master mentality’.
“He (Koenning) visited my old high school (at Capital High) and had a conversation with my coach (Jon Carpenter),” Martin tweeted. “I was not told anything that was said in the conversation but my coach (Carpenter) did tell me that my position coach (Koenning) had a ‘Slave Master’ mentality based off the conversation that was had and my old high school coach is a Caucasian man.
Carpenter denied that statement in an exchange with WVU beat reporter Tom Bragg, as reported on the latter’s Twitter account.
Spoke to Capital High football coach Jon Carpenter re: Kerry Martin’s social media post and allegations against WVU DC Vic Koenning: “Neal Brown told me that [Martin] said I told him that somebody had a “slave owner” mentality. 100 percent no. I never told him that.”
— Tom Bragg (@TomBraggSports) June 23, 2020
More from Carpenter: “I’m heartbroken and shocked. Heartbroken that Kerry could feel that way. I think I speaking for everybody that coaches with us, but that’s new that he felt that way. It almost feels like a train wreck that I wish we could have got out in front of.”
“It’s hard because I love Kerry Martin. Nobody would care two cents about Jon Carpenter the football coach if it wasn’t for people like Kerry Martin. I think you’ve known me long enough to know that I’ve burned all my bridges in WV high school football speaking out on racism.”
“I told Neal Brown that if I knew it was going on I’d be the first person in the car driving up there to throw rocks through windows. I’m shocked because Vic Koenning has aggravated me to death since COVID started. Five or six phone calls to make sure Kerry is fed.”
Last thing from Carpenter: “I just hope that they all get together in the same room and talk it out.”
Martin, in response, agreed it was “100% true” that Koenning had checked up on him at home in Charleston to make sure he had enough food to eat while at home, but disagreed just as strongly with Carpenter’s contention that he had not made the “Slave Master” reference.
“This is 100% not true,” Martin said of Carpenter’s statement in Bragg’s original tweet. “I came home after our spring semester was over and visited the high school (Capital) and had a conversation with him (Carpenter) about Coach Vic with Coach Carp. He told me how he had a great coaching mind but could see that in him by the way he talked.”
West Virginia had previously scheduled a Zoom conference call with head coach Neal Brown for 3:00 p.m. Wednesday. More questions concerning this situation are sure to be asked at that time. Brown has not yet made a public statement on the issue.