Former UBC men’s basketball assistant coach releases statement following Twitter criticism

Former UBC men’s basketball seasonal assistant coach Vern Knopp has released a statement following backlash regarding his activities on Twitter.

After briefly going private, Knopp’s account went back to public with a statement on June 11.

After 20 years of working with the men’s basketball team, he claims “UBC distanced itself from [him] 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.”

A tale of Tweets

Last Thursday Knopp liked a video posted June 3 by conservative comedians The Hodge Twins which claims that “the Black Lives Matter movement is a leftist lie.”

Later that Thursday, Muted Madness, a Canadian university basketball podcast account, took a screenshot of Knopp’s liked tweet and shared it.

Knopp later Tweeted a short response, saying he “never knew some likes to conservative posts” would receive backlash and that he had already told UBC men’s basketball head coach Kevin Hanson months ago that he wouldn’t be returning to UBC.

Kavinder Toor, managing director of UBC Athletics, made this departure official in a Tweet.

“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,” Toor wrote.

As he was a seasonal contract coach getting his contract renewed every year, it is unclear beyond Toor’s Twitter comments if UBC Athletics have taken action on Knopp’s discontinuation.

Although Athletics has shared a message on Twitter from UBC President Santa Ono, UBC Athletics declined to comment regarding Knopp’s employment status.