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Former UBC men's basketball assistant coach faces backlash for liking controversial tweet

Last Updated Jun 11, 2020 at 9:54 am PDT

FILE -- People walk past large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on Nov. 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct an error. It now also includes a statement that was issued by Vern Knopp on June 11. 

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An assistant coach with the UBC men’s basketball team will not be returning to the school, a decision revealed after he liked a controversial Twitter post.

Vern Knopp has come under fire for liking a tweet which reads “Black Lives Matter is a leftist LIE.”

The tweet in question is a meme that was apparently made from a longer video that Knopp says “shared different perspectives on Black Lives Matter and forced me to deliberate things that I hadn’t considered.”

That perspective includes promoting “all lives matter,” which some activists consider to be racist.

In a statement tweeted out on Thursday, Knopp says UBC “distanced itself” from him over the controversy, saying, “Rather than considering my stellar record & commitment, UBC distanced itself from me based on a screenshot that provided zero frame of reference. At minimum, UBC had an obligation to hear my side and spend 7 minutes watching the video to understand the context and get the whole story.”

The liked tweet was screenshotted and shared by Muted Madness, a Canadian university basketball podcast account, on June 4.

Kavie Toor, UBC’s athletic director, responded to the tweet by saying “Vern Knopp’s personal opinions, beliefs, and social media endorsements do not represent the ideals and values of the UBC Thunderbirds. Vern Knopp is no longer a member of the Thunderbirds men’s basketball coaching staff.”

Knopp said on Twitter on June 4 he wasn’t planning on coming back to work at the school, and that he was surprised at the uproar over him liking what he called a “conservative” post.