LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Siena women’s basketball head coach Jim Jabir was reinstated on Friday. Jabir had stepped away from the team at the end of December while under investigation for making an insensitive remark in front of his players in September.
Jabir returned to practice Friday for the first time in three weeks, following an investigation by the Title IX office into inappropriate remarks he made to his team. “The Title IX people went through all off their interviews and they came back and they felt comfortable with it,” said vice president and athletic director John D’Argenio. “That’s why we’re here today.”
According to a report from the Times Union last month, Jabir said something racially insensitive and misogynistic in front of players. He stepped away after the investigation began.
While he did not discuss the specifics of the comment, Jabir did acknowledge on Friday what he said was insensitive. “I regret my joke,” said Jabir. “It was insensitive and three weeks later I’m back, and hopefully a wiser person for it.”
Jabir said he immediately apologized to his team following the comment, and reiterated that apology again on Friday. “I feel like it was sincerely accepted,” said Jabir. “You’d have to ask them but I think my sense is they were happy to see me back, and when I apologized in September they said, ‘We know who you are, and we know this isn’t you, and we’re cool.'”
Sophomore captain Valencia Fontenelle-Posson says she accepted Jabir’s apology. “I accepted it a long time ago when we had the conversation,” said Fontenelle-Posson. “I still accept it now, and accept coach.”
Fellow captain Anajah Brown also backed Jabir. “Ultimately we’re just happy to have him back,” said Brown. “We’re excited, our family is now, like, fully in tact.”
Jabir said the last few weeks were hard on him and his family, and he discussed what he learned from it all. “What I’ve learned is that our society’s really changed, and I’ve got to be really careful with how I say things, because different people perceive things differently,” said Jabir. “I’ve got to be very sensitive to who I’m talking to, and what I’m saying, because nothing I ever said was meant to be offensive to anybody. I mean, I love my team. But unfortunately, some of the things that I joked about were taken in a way I didn’t mean. So, I’ve got to become more aware of what I say, and how it sounds, and how people I’m talking to are gonna take it.”
The Saints were 6-1 during Jabir’s absence under interim coach Terry Primm, and Jabir doesn’t plan on changing anything heading into Saturday’s matchup with Iona. “I don’t want to ruin what they got going on,” said Jabir. “Being the head coach doesn’t mean that I come in and just change everything they’re doing.”