Mike Leach’s Obama Video Tweet Cost WSU $1.6 Million in Donations
Washington State head coach Mike Leach's June tweet of a Barack Obama conspiracy video cost the university an estimated $1.6 million in donations, according to The Seattle Times.
Leach tweeted out a video clip of a 2014 speech Obama delivered to the European Union in Belgium. However, the clip was actually a deceptive edit that spliced together Obama's sentences to change their meaning. The video isolated a clause in which Obama said “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs” but left out the rest of the paragraph, in which Obama described how that “alternative vision” has threatened the system of ideals that govern the United States and many countries in Europe.
WSU president Kirk Schulz estimated Wednesday that Leach's tweet cost the school over $1 million and then a spokesperson later confirmed it was $1.6 million, reports the Times.
"As the president mentioned, no one who had made a cash gift has asked for their money back," Marketing and Communications Vice President Phil Weiler said. "We did have five donors let us know that they had altered plans for their future giving, however. These were primarily estate gifts that would have been paid out upon the donor’s death. These planned estate gifts totaled $1.6 million."
According to documents obtained through a public records request several donors made it clear if Leach makes more "disgraceful" or "racist" comments, they will consider pulling back pledged donations and stop supporting the university.
Around 60 emails were sent to the Cougar Athletic Fund, WSU’s fundraising arm for intercollegiate athletics, following the tweet.
“We put all of our head coaches and cabinet through social media training just to make sure people are aware that what they are doing often reflects on their job, not their private political views,” Schulz said. “At the end of the day, Coach Leach is like anyone else. He can elect to do some of those things as a private citizen.”
Schulz doesn’t expect a repeat situation from Leach.
He also said some of the donations being withheld may come back at a later date.
“What happens sometimes is people watch for six months, see how things are and then say ‘maybe on second thought, we’ll do this,’ ” Schulz said. “So, I think it’s a little bit early to tell.”