A Florida State fan who shared a racist meme of head football coach Willie Taggart on Facebook has lost his job. Hilton Grand Vacations announced it fired Tom Shands just days after the post circulated on social media and got picked up by several media outlets. Shands shared a photo of Taggart’s face on the body of a person being lynched.
“His behavior was in violation of multiple company policies and the furthest example from being a reflection of our company’s values” the company said in a twitter post.
Our concern regarding this has been a top priority. The person responsible for posting this information has been terminated. His behavior was in violation of multiple company policies and the furthest example from being a reflection of our company’s values.
— HiltonGrandVacations (@HiltonGrandVac) November 26, 2018
Shands’ facebook comment came after Florida State capped a disappointing 5-7 season with a 41-14 loss to arch rival Florida. The post included a caption saying “Believe in Something Even If It Means Sacrificing Your Rep” — an apparent reference to Nike’s 25th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. Outraged fans were quickly able to identify Shands and his employment situation to demand his firing.
Florida State University President John Thrasher condemned the post, calling the picture “despicable.”
“I speak for the entire FSU community in expressing our disgust and extreme disappointment, and I am glad the state attorney is investigating,” Thrasher said in a statement. “Coach Taggart has our full support and as true Seminoles know, he is a respected member of the FSU family.”
So far, Shands has not issued a public apology for the post and has since deleted his social media.
The loss to Florida ended the Seminoles’ chances at bowl eligibility. It is the first time in 26 years Florida State will not play in a bowl game.