West Virginia defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has issued a statement on Twitter regarding accusations of mistreatment and racism sophomore safety Kerry Martin made against him Tuesday.
“I respect Kerry Martin’s right to share that some of my words and actions impacted him,” Koenning began. “I care deeply for KJ and, when given the opportunity to speak to him directly, am optimistic we can find common ground. In the interim, I want to offer my sincere apology to both KJ and the entire WVU Family.”
With time to reflect, some thoughts from my heart. pic.twitter.com/paRgbeVJK3
— Vic Koenning (@CoachVic_WVU) June 24, 2020
In a tweet yesterday afternoon, Martin accused Koenning of making disparaging comments about players’ religious beliefs, refer to players using a slur for mental illness and making inappropriate remarks about Hispanic and the recent protests in America.
“I never intended anything I said or did to offend or be insensitive,” Koenning wrote. “But KJ’s tweet reminded me that sometimes intent is not always clearly communicated … I’ve always tried to see things from the perspective of others.”
Martin also questioned why Koenning had not spoken out about racism and social injustice as other coaches on the team had.
“Coach Brown and our administration addressed those important issues on behalf of our organization and I fully supported their messages – then and now,” Koenning explained. “At the time, I did not see the need to issue a separate statement. Again, I recognize that this only takes into account my perspective and not that of the players I am leading.”
In response to Martin’s accusations, WVU athletic director Shane Lyons placed Koenning on administrative leave and announced the university would be conducting an investigation into his conduct. In a statement late last night and again on a call with reporters today, WVU head coach Neal Brown expressed his support of such an investigation.
Today, Koenning concluded his statement by saying he too supports the investigation and will be fully cooperative.
“I look forward to fully cooperating with WVU’s independent investigation by sharing what is in my heart and getting to the truth,” Koenning said. “We will get through this together and be stronger as a team for it.”