The coach worked at Bethel High School in Spanaway, which is located approximately 45 miles away from Seattle. He shared an image of himself lying on the floor, while an unidentified person knelt on his neck.
The position was similar to what photos and video footage showed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin doing to Floyd after arresting and handcuffing him earlier this week. Chauvin allegedly maintained his position on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes amid Floyd’s cries that he could not breathe.
“Not dead yet I’m doing this for… police officers the media is a race baiting machine and I’m tired of it I’m going to speak out every time if you don’t like that I’m sorry but I love All people.. Wake up America,” Hollenbeck captioned his picture.
He later spoke with NBC News in an interview and confirmed that he had indeed written the caption after people shared screenshots on social media. He claimed that there was “no racist intent” behind his post and insisted that he was trying to defend police officers because he knows how challenging it is “for them to do their job safely.”
The former coach claimed he took the picture to prove that the technique the officer was using on Floyd could not have killed him, citing his decades worth of wrestling experience.
“I was sticking up for the cops that the technique is sound if done correct.”
After being fired, Hollenbeck returned to his Facebook page to post a series of videos explaining why he shared the snap and his feelings on being fired. According to Hollenbeck, he was actually fired from two different jobs but felt the “freest” he had “ever been.”
“And that’s because I don’t answer to anyone anymore. I answer to me.”
He continued, asserting that some of the interviews he had done since his firing were supposedly edited to make him look bad. Toward the end of his spiel, he further expressed that he was not a racist and denied being a Nazi or having Nazi tattoos after accusations to the contrary.
In defense of his Facebook post, Hollenbeck added that he was only trying find “an entertaining way” to prove that the technique used by Chauvin amid Floyd’s arrest could not kill a man.
The Bethel school district’s spokesperson, Douglas Boyles, issued a statement on the first-year coach’s firing.
“His behavior was not consistent with our equity initiatives and nondiscrimination policies.”
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Terrible and unacceptable my former High School Bethel High School in Spanaway, Washington Wrestling coach David Hollenbeck and teacher posting these comments and pics. @shaunking get the word out this is not acceptable at all and will not stand for this. Contact Bethel High School (253)683-7000 principal email email@example.com #blacklivesmatter #justiceforgeorgefloyd