Alabama A&M head football coach Connell Maynor inferred racism played a part in the treatment he said his school received when it came to Florence for Saturday’s game with North Alabama.
During his weekly Monday news conference streamed on Facebook Live, Maynor said, “This is 2019, not ’59.”
“It ain’t 1959, we don’t have to put up with that type stuff,” Maynor said. “We’re not going to play them again, not as long as I am head coach.”
Video of the news conference has since been taken down.
Maynor listed several things that apparently led to his comments.
“There was too much off the field stuff that went on behind the scenes,” he said. “It was not professional the way they treated us.”
Maynor said Alabama A&M received no complimentary tickets or tickets to sell to the public for the game; players were not allowed on the field until two hours before the game; his assistant coaches were held back so that fans could use the elevator to have access to the press box right before kickoff; and A&M coaches were told they had to have their credentials hanging around their neck while UNA coaches had theirs hanging from their waist.
Maynor also alleged an incident occurred in which a police officer put “his hand on his gun” and saying “Did you hear what he said?” during an argument between a coach and security.
“Come on, man, that’s crazy. I’m disappointed in the way they treated us in every aspect,” Maynor said.
Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said he first heard of Maynor’s comments late Monday afternoon.
“I didn’t see the press conference and certainly don’t have any first-hand knowledge of any of the accusations other than what was posted on Facebook,” Tyler said.
Tyler said when he found out about the allegations, he contacted the supervisors who worked the game. He said none were aware of any confrontation. He said there were three Florence police officers and “maybe a state trooper” working the south end zone of Braly Stadium.
Two officers were not aware of any incident, Tyler said. The third officer said he witnessed a commotion between a security guard and an Alabama A&M coach in which voices were raised.
“My folks have said there was not a Florence police officer in any interaction with a coach, particularly a negative interaction, with any coach from Alabama A&M,” Tyler said. “There are only two options – either I was misinformed or when that coach saw a police officer he just assumed it was a Florence police officer. I’m happy to speak to him if he saw a (FPD) patch. According to our folks, nobody was involved in any type of altercation with any fan, coach or anybody from A&M.”
Tyler said he was told that the commotion involved a coach trying to gain access to the locker room from the press box, and the discussion involved the type of pass he had.
UNA officials responded to the allegations with a release on the school’s Facebook page.
“On Monday, UNA was made aware of comments by Alabama A&M’s head football coach related to Saturday’s game against the Lions,” the release said. “UNA officials were never contacted by Alabama A&M. Our athletic programs – including students, players, coaching staff, alumni and fans – are held to the highest standards of respectful behavior, fair play and good sportsmanship. We have the utmost respect for the Alabama A&M athletic program, the University, its alumni and sports fans.”
UNA sports information director Jeff Hodges also released a statement.
“As soon as we were made aware of the comments, our athletic director (Mark Linder) reached out to Alabama A&M’s athletic director (Bryan Hicks),” Hodges said in the statement. “(Hicks) said he was not aware of the situation and was not at the press conference. He said he would watch the video and get back to (Linder) regarding the coach’s concerns.
Alabama A&M sports information director Justin Graves said the school would have no further comment on allegations raised by Maynor.
The game was the second of a two-year contract. The schools are not scheduled to play any future football games, but the UNA men’s basketball team has a game scheduled at Alabama A&M on Dec. 20.
According to sources with knowledge of the game contract between the two schools, UNA was not required to provide any tickets to Alabama A&M. It was the same as last season in which Alabama A&M was not required to and did not provide any tickets for UNA officials and coaches, or any tickets for the school to sell to the public.
Another source said when concerns were raised about the lack of tickets provided to Alabama A&M for Saturday’s game, UNA allotted 176 tickets for Bulldogs officials to use at their discretion with the understanding that A&M would pay for them. As of Monday, UNA had not sent an invoice for those tickets.
Hodges, UNA’s SID, said it is standard policy for teams to not be allowed on the field until two hours before kickoff. He cited this week’s game at Jacksonville State in which a pregame script was provided detailing when the team will be able to access the field.