NU’s Fitzgerald On Racism Accusations: ‘If I Could, I’d Sue’

By Adam Hoge-

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — Pat Fitzgerald was on vacation with his family when he received an e-mail from Northwestern director of football operations Cody Cejda.

“Coach, I sent out a tweet accidentally on your account. I apologize for that, just FYI,” the e-mail read, according to Fitzgerald who was paraphrasing.

The Northwestern head coach asked Cejda what the tweet said.

‘‘Officially on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon. There’s finally an NBA player who plays hard and says the right things off the court,’’ the tweet read.

Fitz replied: “OK, well don’t worry about it. Thanks man, have a great day.”

Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy.

“48 hours later, I’m a racist,” Fitzgerald said at a panel discussion at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism Wednesday.

The NU head coach was clearly upset with the allegations that followed. Some called him racist, even though there was no reference to race in the tweet at all. Others were upset because they perceived the tweet as a shot to Derrick Rose, the Bulls point guard who always plays hard and says the right things off the court.

“I think (racism is) an epidemic. I think that’s a disease,” Fitzgerald said. “I think (calling someone racist is) a very strong statement to make about an individual. By anybody making that, I think it’s a defamation of my character. But I am responsible for what goes on and what’s said from me and by me, and if I would have said it I would have taken responsibility for it.”

The problem is, Fitz didn’t say it.

“If I could, I’d sue somebody,” the head coach said. “If I could, I would, but that’s not who I am.”

As for the notion that the tweet was disrespectful to Rose, Fitz was quick to point out how much he supports the city’s professional sports teams.

“There’s no bigger Chicago fan than me. I’m a ridiculous Chicago fan,” he said. “But now, maybe there’s some Chicagoans who think I’m not that way. I can’t control that and I’m not going to worry about that. If that’s what you think, that’s not my fault, that’s your fault, too bad for you. Maybe that’s arrogance, I don’t care. But I know what I believe in, I know what I stand for and I also know who I root for.”

Fitzgerald, a rabid White Sox fan, paused for a second before adding an exclamation point.

“And I’m not a Cub hater,” he said.

adam hoge NUs Fitzgerald On Racism Accusations: If I Could, Id Sue

Adam Hoge

Adam is the Sports Content Producer for and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.

  • Me

    Did Fitzgerald tweet\twit\post a correction? Or more to the point, did that coach post something stating it was not Fitzgerald that has posted…that he was basically hacked?

  • Dan Rakow



    • Home sapien sapien

      20+ years ago I stopped filling in a ‘Race’ besides Other: Human because we are all Human. What they are looking for is Ethnicity and even that is not pure anymore not was it ever…Latinos will fight you if you refer to a Mexican as Guatemalan and vice a versa…Turk v Greek…Sicilian v anyone… Hutu v Bantu…Call an Irani Arab and see what happens.

  • Dan Rakow


  • name

    Cody Cejda made a racist statement, he should be fired.

  • juju

    This is all amasian too me.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live