Isiah Thomas Video: Watch FIU Athletes Walk out of Banquet in Protest

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2012

It's no secret that college-aged kids love to express themselves and voice their opinions in different ways over major current events. 

The men's basketball team at Florida International University decided that protesting the end of the year banquet would be the best way to show how they felt about a recent event that happened on campus. 

These players were upset the school fired the head coach, former NBA player and coach Isiah Thomas. 

Freshman guard Tanner Wozniak told Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports that the idea to protest came from the seniors. 

"We didn't want to disrespect the program at all or anything," Wozniak said by phone. "We just wanted to show our support for Isiah Thomas. He was a great coach, a mentor and a father figure to us. He didn't have a winning record, but you can't build a program in three years." 

Apparently, the administration at FIU felt differently. Thomas was 26-65 during his career as head coach of the Golden Panthers. As his season-by-season record indicates, Thomas never really helped the team grow and get better. 

It was time to move on and start fresh, but the players weren't OK with it. This probably had something to do with the timing of Thomas getting fired. 

One would think after going 8-21, three fewer wins that the season before, the Golden Panthers would have dumped Thomas right away. That didn't happen, but instead the school hung onto Thomas for a month before deciding to part ways. 

It was unexpected, and the players thought protesting the banquet would be a good way to make a statement. It certainly sends a loud message, walking out on the event as the administration speaks highly of their (few) achievements this past year. 

The underclassmen on the team are unsure if they'll stick around, which only hurts the future of the FIU basketball program. The Golden Panthers have to find a new coach fast if they want to keep the players happy. 

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