Tom Shand

FSU Fan Posts Meme Depicting Lynching of Football Coach Willie Taggart

Florida State University football fan, Tom Shand, posted images on his social media depicting coach Willie Taggart getting lynched. That disturbing image prompted outrage among FSU fans and social media users alike on Sunday morning.


Apparently, Shand’s blatantly racist comment was prompted by FSU’s loss to Florida on Saturday. The team finished its season with a 5-7 record, marking its first losing season since the 1970s.

Florida State President John Thrasher released a statement Sunday stating the post was unacceptable and indicated an investigation has been launched by the state attorney’s office:

“A recent racist social media post aimed at our football coach is ignorant and despicable,” Thrasher said in the statement. “I speak for the entire FSU community in expressing our disgust and extreme disappointment, and I am glad the state attorney is investigating. Coach Taggart has our full support and as true Seminoles know, he is a respected member of the FSU family.”

Thrasher and the university were reported to have Taggart’s back via a post on Twitter.

Shand was a former student at FSU from 1997-2000. Although many fans were upset by the Seminole’s losing season and were vocal about their disappointment, no one else reacted in such a viscerally hateful manner. Many of the school’s fans who were in the same FSU fan group with Shand immediately admonished the controversial post which had the image of a lynched Taggart stated: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing your rep.”

Another fan on the same thread even asked if the Shand was serious to which he answered, “I’m dead [expletive] serious. This is how far I’m willing to go to get rid of this clown!!!”

Shand works as a club counselor for Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. based in Orlando, according to his LinkedIn profile. Its executive leadership team does lack diversity.

Hilton Grand Vacations is no longer a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hilton Inc. (No. 10 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list). It was spun off into its own publicly traded company.

Shocked fans began sending screenshots of the post to Shand’s employer, demanding that he be terminated. There has been no response as of yet from Hilton Grand Vacations, which was closed due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Apparently, this is isn’t Shand’s first-time at the rodeo. Diligent fans also discovered posts by Shand directed at former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith with the same disgusting racist undertone.

Shand, subsequently, deleted all of his social media accounts.

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