Wisconsin men’s basketball assistant coach resigns after using racial epithet

Erik Helland resigned from his position as director of strength and conditioning after using racial epithet around players

· Feb 10, 2020 Tweet

Daniel Yun/The Badger Herald

The University of Wisconsin Director of Strength and Conditioning Erik Helland resigned last Thursday after allegations that he used a racial epithet around at least one of the men’s basketball players.

Helland was with the Badgers for seven years and had been UW’s director of strength and conditioning since 2015.

In a statement, Wisconsin confirmed that Helland used a racial epithet in the presence of multiple Wisconsin men’s basketball student-athletes while recollecting a story about his NBA career. 

According to the statement, Helland was placed on administrative leave Monday and did not travel with the Basketball team to their game against Minnesota, Wednesday. 

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According to the Washington Post, Helland wrote a statement in which he said, “I was sharing a story from my NBA career and explaining the intensity of a particular athlete, I quoted that individual, and in doing so, repeated a repugnant word. In no way were these my words, and I clearly stated my disapproval.”

UW’s statement said that the allegation that the racially insensitive language was directed at one student-athlete in particular was “inaccurate.”

“UW has no evidence — not has it been alleged to the athletic department — that Helland directed racially insensitive language toward any member of the men’s basketball team,” UW said.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, university officials were investigating allegations that Helland directed an epithet toward Kobe King, a sophomore guard for the Badgers who recently announced that he is transferring. 

King said that this program is not the right fit for him as a player and person, and will be leaving at the end of January, according to the Washington Post. 

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According to the Wisconsin State Journal, King said that he did not believe the racial epithet was meant in a malicious way. King heard about the epithet secondhand. 

The UW statement said, “UW Athletics works to promote a safe and welcoming environment for its student-athletes and staff, and the aforementioned language used does not align with the values of the athletic department, men’s basketball program or the university.”


This article was published Feb 10, 2020 at 9:12 pm and last updated Feb 10, 2020 at 9:12 pm


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