A Georgia Southern University volleyball player from Savannah has apologized for what she described as “racially insensitive” tweets posted when she was a high school freshman and resigned Sunday as the incoming president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Landon Jones, a senior this fall semester, wrote an apology on her Twitter account on Sunday evening after two tweets from January 2014 — when she was a 14-year-old ninth-grader at Savannah Christian — were screen captured and posted earlier Sunday on Twitter. The N-word was used in the tweets dated Jan. 3 and Jan. 13, 2014.
“Six and a half years ago, prior to committing to Georgia Southern, I sent out two tweets and used language that was racially insensitive and that I am not proud of,” wrote Jones, 21. “A lot has changed since I was a freshman in high school and that language does not reflect who I was then and certainly not today. I’ve spoken with my teammates, I take ownership of my actions and apologize to everyone that these words may have offended.”
Jones wrote that she was thankful and appreciative to the university, the athletic department and the volleyball team “for what they’ve taught me about diversity and equality.” She added that she was “profoundly sorry.”
“I have learned and will continue to educate myself, and I full accept the consequences of my actions,” Jones wrote.
Efforts to contact Jones on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.
— Landon (@landonmckayy) June 28, 2020
Landon was to serve with SAAC during the 2020-2021 academic year. On Monday afternoon, Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Jared Benko issued a statement which explained that Jones had met on Sunday night with the committee, which accepted her apology as well as her resignation, effective immediately.
“Let me be clear: we do not condone any form of racism within the athletic department at Georgia Southern and we are taking steps to ensure we are providing an inclusive and safe experience for all 400 of our student-athletes,” Benko said in the statement.
One step, he said, is the formation of “a Diversity and Inclusion Committee” which will be headed by Reggie Simpkins, the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services. He has been with the department, first as Director of Student-Athlete Services, since January 2015.
The committee also will include coaches, staff and student-athletes, Benko said in the statement, adding that several other initiatives will be announced “in the near future.”
“I look forward to having open and honest dialogue with all groups about how we can deepen and broaden this department’s commitment to a culture of inclusion while making meaningful and lasting change,” he said in the statement.
A Georgia Southern Athletics Department spokesperson said Tuesday that there were no further announcements regarding Jones.
Sunday’s events followed the release Saturday of a video by the Georgia Southern Athletics Department featuring student-athletes and coaches from multiple sports speaking out against racism. Jones appears about one minute in and says, “Being anti-racist means fighting against racism.”
The 2-minute, 15-second video, shown in black and white, ends with the phrase “Be the change. Be the difference.” Jones retweeted the video on Saturday.
Jones’ college career has followed a standout four years at Savannah Christian, where she played for her mother Julie Jones, the Raiders’ coach for 22 seasons and now also the athletic director.
Landon Jones was a four-time first-team selection on the All-Greater Savannah teams from 2013-16, and was the Savannah Morning News’ Volleyball Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2014, when the Raiders reached the GHSA Class A state finals. As a senior in 2016, she was the Class A State Co-Player of the Year.