But first they allowed him an apology column. He writes:
Wednesday night one of my 580,000 tweets blew up. I didn’t live up to my own standards, and I didn’t meet USA TODAY’s standards. For that I apologize, to USA TODAY readers and to my followers on social media.
I was following the riots in Charlotte, against a background of reports of violence. Joe Bruno of WSOC9 interviewed a driver whose truck had been stopped by a mob. Trapped in her cab, she “feared for her life” as her cargo was looted. Then I retweeted a report of mobs “stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles” with the comment, “Run them down.”
Those words can easily be taken to advocate drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I’m sorry it seemed I did. What I meant is that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles. I remember Reginald Denny, a truck driver who was beaten nearly to death by a mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. My tweet should have said, “Keep driving,” or “Don’t stop.”
I have always supported peaceful protests, speaking out against police militarization and excessive police violence in my USA TODAY columns, on my website and on Twitter itself. I understand why people misunderstood my tweet and regret that I was not clearer.
See? He totally didn’t mean “run them over”! He meant “get away!” Right.
Reynolds is also facing trouble from his other gig as a law professor at the University of Tennessee. Via the Tennessean:
UT College of Law Dean Melanie D. Wilson said in a statement Thursday morning that she and university administrators are investigating the matter, calling Reynolds’ post an “irresponsible use of his platform.”
“The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas,” she wrote. “My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.”
She called the concerns about the tweet from students and staff, along with those from citizens across the country, “serious and legitimate.” Chancellor Jimmy Cheek released a statement about an hour later supporting Wilson and her comments.
“Wilson’s statement about the faculty member’s social media post reinforces the university’s commitment to fostering a civil and inclusive learning environment,” he said in a news release.