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Tony Yager retires from CMU after racist incident at Cheers


Tony Yager, a telecommunications technician at Central Michigan University, sits at the bar Aug. 26 at Cheers Neighborhood Grill.

(Courtesy Photo | Rondo Sanders)

A former Central Michigan University employee, who was involved in a racist incident at Cheers Neighborhood Grill, is no longer employed by the university.

Tony Yager, a former telecommunications technician, retired from CMU on Aug. 31 after junior Rondo Sanders filed a complaint against him.

"Mr. Yager decided to retire effective Aug. 31, which ended any active investigation by our office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity as he was at that point no longer a staff member," said Heather Smith, executive director of University Communications.

On Aug. 26, Sanders and his girlfriend sat down for dinner in the mostly empty Cheers as Yager had a conversation with his friends at the end of the bar.

Since the restaurant was mostly empty and had no background music, everyone listened to Yager's conversation.

"Me and my buddies used to determine who jumps out the back of the plane by going through names 'a' through 'z,' and I'm not talking names," Yager said. "I'm talking African Americans – the darkest to lightest skins. We'll say they are 'a.'"

Sanders turned around, and the two men made eye contact.

"Best joke ever," Yager said, laughing and shaking his head.

Sanders said after clearing his head he spoke with Yager who didn't seem to cared much about how the conversation effected him.

Before he left the restaurant, Sanders spoke with Cheers manager Brandon Swindlehurst. Swindlehurst told Sanders "there was nothing he was willing to do," Sanders said.

Sanders took to Facebook to post about his experience. He also spoke with Vice Mayor Amy Perschbacher and the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity at CMU.

Yager was contacted for comment.