Update Thursday Dec. 6:
Florida A&M assistant baseball coach Kevin Clethen said that the team is still competing and and getting themselves ready for the year. They are currently without head baseball coach Willie Brown due to his suspension. Brown was placed on administrative paid leave for misconduct.
Florida A&M baseball coach Willie Brown was placed on leave last week after being accused of misconduct. Athletic Director Derek Horne confirmed that Brown is being placed on administrative leave with pay after being accused of mistreating players on the team.
“I can confirm that he is on administrative leave, but after that, I can’t comment,” said Horne, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Documents show that a FAMU player accused Brown of making degrading comments about his weight and sexual orientation, according to the Associated Press.
Brown said that he was not given a specific reason for his suspension, but it is believed that this situation stems from controversy surrounding a player’s dismissal from the program.
Brown, a FAMU alumnus, played baseball for the university from 1989 to 1992 and also played for the Florida Marlins in the minor leagues. He coached at Maclay School for six years before coming to FAMU.
Brown was hired a little more than a year ago to coach FAMU’s baseball team. The team had a rough first season, finishing 17-40.
He recently retained the legal counsel of Steven Andrews, a local attorney. Andrews said he is currently drafting a letter to send to the Board of Governors of FAMU. Andrews said Brown did not treat the player differently from anyone else, according to the Associated Press. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Brown is in the second year of a $65,000 annual contract.
Brown has gotten sworn statements from other players on the baseball team saying that he did not mistreat anyone. Three players said the person accusing Brown of misconduct threatened to retaliate against Brown if he cut him from the team, according to the Associated Press.
In an interview with Brown, he declined to comment about any player dismissals. However, Brown said: “I love FAMU. I love the colors of orange and green, and I’m sorry that we’re here.”
Brown said this is devastating to him.
“I just wanna be out there with my boys,” he said.
When Brown came back to help coach FAMU’s baseball team in 1996, he wrote a poem to describe his relationship to the university titled “What It Means To Be A Rattler.” This poem is in the FAMU baseball and softball handbooks. Here is an excerpt from the first paragraph of the poem:
“It means that when I prick my finger, I bleed orange and green, Being a rattler means that I’m a winner, in every sense of the word, And that I’ll always come out on top, never second or third. The day I became a man, And the word ‘I can’t,’ suddenly became ‘I can.”
FAMU has launched an ongoing investigation and has not released any further comments.