High school coach fired over blackface photo

NASHVILLE, Indiana (KTRK) -- The issue of blackface is continuing to make headlines across the U.S., from political figures, to luxury designers, and now, a high school football coach from Indiana.

Thursday night, a school board in Nashville, Indiana voted to fire assistant football and track coach Richard Gist.

The decision comes after photos from Halloween shows him in a blackface costume.

Gist said he was in the costume as Bob Marley and it was meant as a tribute to the musician.

He said the picture was taken nearly 10 years ago, and asked for the board to spare his job.

"I just ask that the board give me an opportunity to prove to you that I am an asset of this country," Gist said.

The board did offer Gist a deal that would have allowed him to return to the district in the fall.

The deal required him to first resign from his position and take a cultural sensitivity course, but he turned the deal down and refused to resign.

"We're really committed to the next step, which is repairing harm through education and coming together as a community," Superintendent Laura Hammack said.

The district says it is disappointed that Gist didn't accept their offer, but had no other choice than to terminate him.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.