‘Last Chance U’s’ Malik Henry Says Netflix Series ‘Failed’ to Show True Bond With Coach

UPDATED: The third season of “Last Chance U” was highlighted by the brash and profanity-spewing Independence Community College football coach Jason Brown and his highly talented, mercurial quarterback, Malik Henry. At times, the two bonded, but viewers usually watched the coach chew out, bench and threaten to kick the five star transfer from Florida State off the team.

So was the depiction of their relationship accurate, or was it beefed up to intensify the drama for the Netflix docuseries?

“They kind of failed to show the other side of me and Coach Brown’s relationship,” Henry told Variety at Sunday’s Athletes vs. Cancer celebrity flag football game. “But TV is TV and they have to sell.”

Last Chance U” director and executive producer Greg Whiteley disputed the claim in a statement to Variety.

“As documentary filmmakers, we take very seriously our responsibility to accurately portray the lives of all the student athletes, coaches, and teachers who agree to allow our cameras into their lives,” Whiteley said. “For the last three seasons, we have prioritized authenticity and honesty in our storytelling, and will continue to do so in our upcoming fourth season.”

“I think Greg Whiteley, the director, did a great job,” Henry added. “I just wish we they would have shown the other side of me and Coach Brown’s relationship just a little more, because I feel like more people would have realized that he is more like an older brother, father figure type.”

In the first episode, Henry called his own plays in a game, going against Brown’s strategy. He was repeatedly vocal about a lack of organization in Brown’s system.

“We just had that kind of relationship where we can express our feelings in that way,” Henry said.

Henry says for the most part, the feedback he has received has been positive, but believes there was perception that he and Brown failed to get along. Both coach and quarterback share similar backgrounds, coming from equally tough parts of Los Angeles, playing the same position — something that Brown drew from as a bond in his recruitment pitch to Henry.

“They just didn’t show both sides and they could have shown both sides,” he said. “They had a lot of opportunities to but they didn’t.”

For the Independence players, the junior college program offers a shot at salvaging their football futures in the wake of off the field or personal differences at other, more high profile universities. For players like Henry, the series offers next level national exposure, while, at times, providing up too much personal information that could potentially scare recruiters away.

“They put in a lot of my trash talking,” Henry points out. “That’s stuff that fans and people watching the game wouldn’t hear unless I was mic’d up.”

During games, Henry was warned by officials for mouthing off and penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. Coaches Brown and Frank Diaz were shown urging maturity and discipline to their quarterback.

“If they didn’t hear that, I believe the series wouldn’t have looked as bad. So it hurts me in ways like that.”

Even so, the quarterback is grateful for the “Last Chance U” experience and the reach of the Netflix series.

“Some people get to see the other side of Malik, the background story of me,” he says. “It was a great experience overall, so I have no regrets about it.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]


    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content