Tim Damico, a former assistant girls swim coach at Germantown High School in Milwaukee, has been fired for comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan.
Damico’s July 9 Facebook post read in part: “#BLM is a cult and no different than the #KKK. They both think their race is superior,” according to Bob Soderberg, president of the Germantown School Board. The post has not been released for privacy reasons. In a second statement posted to Facebook, Damico wrote: “Black lives matter is a joke.”
A week after the controversial statement drawing parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and the KKK was posted, Damico was contacted by athletics director Sara Unertl and notified that his contract had not been renewed. Damico is a 2011 graduate of Germantown High School and served as the girls assistant swim coach for three seasons. Unertl said the decision not to renew his contract was made by the administration.
Damico said that Unertl told him he was fired because the district wanted to be “on the right side of history,” but Soderberg said in a Facebook post that the ex-coach was misrepresenting his conversation with Unertl.
Soderberg wrote that Unertl recommended Damico’s contract not be renewed because “Mr. Damico failed to follow established protocols and used reckless professional judgment in his use of social media.” The president added that Damico “created a situation where having him return as coach clearly would have disrupted the entire swimming program, including precipitating almost certain conflict between him and student-athletes, loss of credibility with student-athletes, as well as serious damage to the program’s ability to attract students to come out for the sport.”
He also expressed respect and support for Unertl, whom he described as “highly professional and responsible.”
Soderberg called Damico’s decision to allegedly misrepresent facts in a letter written to a conservative radio talk show a “public attack on the District through the media.”
“Of course I agree with the statement [Black lives matter],” but the Black Lives Matter organization is “not something that I as a conservative can or will ever support,” Damico wrote on the radio show’s website. Black Lives Matter is a movement rallying under that slogan, not a formal organization, although a number of local groups around the nation include the slogan in their titles.
“I’m a conservative gun owner who supports President Trump and I will never stop supporting what I believe just to save my job,” he added. Damico believes he was wrongully terminated over expressing his beliefs.
“From all different angles they are telling kids that ‘you must believe this way, or you will lose your job. If you don’t believe in what we believe, then you are a racist,'” he wrote.
Soderberg said that Damico has the option to appeal the decision not to renew his contract but has not yet taken any such action.