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Wake Forest athletics department won't address status of 'part-time hourly intern' after tweets during insurrection at U.S. Capitol

Wake Forest athletics department won't address status of 'part-time hourly intern' after tweets during insurrection at U.S. Capitol

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As congress convened to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a mob descended on the capitol in an attempt to block the confirmation. We unpick the events of the closing act of the Trump presidency.

Wake Forest's athletics department has attempted to put distance between itself and an employee it labeled a "part-time hourly intern" after tweets from the person's account Wednesday appeared to show support for the insurrection in Washington.

But Wake is leaving unclear whether Brice Brazell continues to be affiliated with and paid by the university or its athletics department.

A Twitter account that has since been deleted and belonging to Brazell tweeted "MAGA! Radical left is destroying this country" and "Could not be a prouder American today!" on Wednesday afternoon as a mob of white supporters of President Trump overtook the U.S. Capitol.

The tweets were captured in screengrabs on social media, with Brazell's account listing "Creative Video for @WakeFB" as part of his biographical information. Brazell's LinkedIn profile details his duties with the Wake Forest football program, including providing social media content "to provide a window into our football program" and taking video at practices for coaches to review, and his Facebook cover photo displays McCreary Tower at Truist Field, where the football team plays home games.

Wake Forest issued a statement Wednesday night, but a spokesperson would not answer whether Brazell, a 2020 Clemson alumnus, was still employed, saying the university doesn't discuss employment matters.

"Social media comments made on personal accounts of employees do not represent the position of Wake Forest University, including the tweet posted and since deleted by a part-time hourly intern," the Wake Forest statement read. 

Efforts to reach athletics director John Currie have been unsuccessful. Among other questions are how often Brazell has had contact with Wake Forest football players and what is permissible for employees on social media, whether they're full-time or part-time and whether on university-related or personal accounts.

After the nation was shaken during the summer by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake, Wake Forest football players discussed race issues and their feelings about inequality on campus in a Winston-Salem Journal story.

Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, waving Trump and U.S. flags and even Confederate banners, occupying lawmakers' offices and chambers and destroying federal property as the House and Senate worked to confirm the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden. Trump has fueled dissent on social media and encouraged the protesters in a speech before their march to the Capitol. Four people died in the rioting, and Vice President Mike Pence, senators and representatives were forced to flee the House and Senate chambers as the building was breached.

Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, in a message to the university community on Wednesday, condemned the day's events, writing that "what happened today stands among the most disgraceful incidents in the storied history of the American Republic."


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