Hurricanes football fans have been disappointed with Head Coach Al Golden’s performance for some time. The Miami Hurricane ran a story Thursday about fans’ discontent with Golden, spefically the controversial social media hashtag “FireAlGolden.”
A key player in the midst of these reactions is senior William Herrera. Thursday’s story mentioned an incident at the BankUnited Center (BUC), when signs reading “Fire Al Golden” and “Bring Back Butch” were confiscated from Herrera and his friends during the men’s basketball game against Virginia.
Herrera says that when he questioned why their signs were being taken away, he was told such signs could not be displayed at “our home court.”
“I know a lot of fans who tweet, email and are canceling season tickets and donations. Still, the athletic department ignores it and sweeps it under the rug as if it is a non-issue,” Herrera said. “I chose to bring the signs because I knew the decision makers in athletics would be there, and they should not ignore the fans anymore.”
He says he also brought smaller signs to a game a week later. That day, a BUC employee took his sign from his pocket and later alerted an usher of his location.
Herrera says these interactions garnered media attention when a “very prominent former player” reached out to Herrera via Twitter. He says he was then contacted by the Miami Herald.
“In the days that followed, I realized why people were making a big deal, and I became angry with the fact that they took my sign and not other people’s signs,” he said.
He also mentioned that when he heard that Athletic Director Blake James said that signs were not allowed at the BUC, he became upset.
“Everyone knows that is not true. In fact, earlier this season, there were announcements made at the BUC about the size limits allowed for signs,” he said.
Screenshots from Billy Corben’s Twitter show that the no-sign policy did not show up on the venue’s website until Jan. 14, three days after the signs were confiscated.
The BUC declined to give an official comment on the policy.
The Miami Hurricane also ran an online poll of 398 people asking what fans think is most likely to happen as a result of Golden’s performance.
As of Sunday afternoon, 51 percent (204 votes) believe that it is more likely for Golden to stay as coach, opposed to the 33 percent (131 votes) who believe he will be fired. Twelve percent (47 votes) believe that Golden will be fired and Butch Davis will be brought back, and four percent (16 votes) believe that Golden will stay and Davis will return.
The Miami Hurricane’s article also met several online responses.
“I see the athletic department censors decided to allow a modicum of dissent through,” wrote Reddit user ThaCarter. “Just to be clear though, it was Golden that put Golden on the hot seat. The state of the program is the fault of the administration and coaching staff; blaming the players or fans is just another in the endless run of excuses.”
There were similar responses to The Miami Hurricane’s online post.
“I hope that the same jack-booted thugs that confiscate legitimate signs at basketball games don’t close down this newspaper,” wrote Tony, a WordPress user.
Herrera says that above all else, it boils down to winning.
“He has found a way to do less with more talent,” he said. “It’s okay to be wrong; it’s not okay to be wrong, refuse to admit it and refuse to change. Mr. Golden, this is not personal, we just want to win.”
The Miami Hurricane’s story on Al Golden can be found here.