Ed Reed Had Good Intentions For Bethune-Cookman, But A Line Was Crossed He Couldn’t Come Back From

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The situation that played out over the weekend at Bethune-Cookman was one in which both parties probably wish they could take back. When Ed Reed was brought onto the campus near Daytona Beach it was a move beneficial for everyone, especially a football program trying to make a splash.

But, after a few weeks of back and forth between the administration and Reed, we would soon find out that this relationship wouldn’t get very far.

Hall Of Famer Ed Reed took his brash flamboyant style to Bethune Cookman and the sides clashed. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Ed Reed Was Hoping For Change At Bethune-Cookman

There is certainly no doubt that Reed had the best intentions for the football program. But it certainly didn’t help when Ed Reed took multiple shots at the school’s current conditions on campus, with his Instagram Live video. The language used during the rant surely didn’t help the situation, with Bethune-Cookman known to be a highly religious institution.

Reed later apologized for the incident.

We also cannot forget that Reed was working without a contract, not having signed his agreement yet when arriving on campus. Usually there’s an MOU or some document that’s signed, but I haven’t heard of this agreement. This is the part where the school and Reed could’ve done better. Reed made it out to sound like he hadn’t seen the campus before his instagram rant. How could this be the case? Why would someone agree to take a job without seeing the facilities or area’s of concern on the campus in Daytona Beach?

These are the questions that have left some bewildered. Speaking with multiple sources on the matter, the situation surely didn’t have to get this far. For the three weeks that Reed was on-campus, he lobbied for change. Change which would have benefitted the school, especially having a prominent former NFL player taking over another HBCU. We all witnessed how Deion Sanders tried his best to change certain issues around Jackson State, which paid off over his few years in Mississippi.

Why Didn’t It Work After The Ed Reed Rant?

There are some that say the school should’ve taken the apology from Ed Reed and moved on after the incident. Sure, that would’ve been the easy route, with the school moving forward with the official hiring of Reed. But, for some people, especially the higher-ups at Bethune-Cookman, it wasn’t enough.

“It’s unfortunate, because I think Ed Reed had the best intentions for the school and football program. But, when you proceed to go on an expletive filled rant, while also destroying the facilities in the process, that did not sit well with leaders,” One source indicated on the matter.

Ed Reed And Edgerrin James at Bethune-Cookman

Bethune-Cookman is known for its strong stance on being a school of christian values, which is pointed out on the website. So, no matter how you feel about the situation, it put the institution in a bad spot when Reed went on a profanity-laced rant, while also pointing out that he didn’t have to be there, since he was working without a contract.

“Imagine someone agreeing to take a job, but before they are fully employed, they start trashing the school and the administration. Now, imagine doing this multiple times with alumni and current leaders watching. It wasn’t going to be smoothed over. Not with the school holding its students and other faculty to the same standards as the head football coach.

“Sure, the buildings aren’t in the best shape and the facilities aren’t like an Alabama or Georgia, but this is what he signed up for at the start,” Another source added. “Add on the fact that the language he used probably should’ve been kept in the locker room. Now they’re dealing with a whole different set of problems. I hate this, because he’s a really good guy with so much passion.”

What Now For Bethune-Cookman?

It’s a shame this didn’t work out for both parties. Ed Reed had the ability to shine a light on Bethune-Cookman, while also being a beacon of change for the school. Was he going to get everything he wanted from the school? No, it was going to be a fight with administrators to enact change on a timely basis. Reed was going to be needed to raise funds for the school. He also was working to build a competitive roster and change the lives of young men.

It’s truly hard to think what the future would’ve looked like at Bethune-Cookman with Ed Reed in charge, because he was there for only a short period of time. Talking with former NFL players and coaches about the situation, it’s clear that Ed Reed had good intentions.

One current power-five head coach made a really good point about the whole ordeal.

“Always make sure the ink is dry on the contract before picking a fight with the school and trying to get your way.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.


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  1. Reed is a White bigot. His profanity laced rant was so child like and immature it goes without saying the school is better off without him. Sure, passion is important but so is maturity, intelligence, integrity, and work ethic. He would have blown his top at some other time if given this position.

    • Just to add to my comment…you could just tell that Deion wanted no part of being drawn into Reed’s craziness . He didn’t want to throw a brother under a bus but Deion tiptoed his way out of that one.

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