Nebraska officials: Coach's apology sincere
NEBRASKA IS ready to move on from Bo Pelini's profane rant against fans 2 years ago. Chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Shawn Eichorst said in a joint statement yesterday that they believe the football coach was sincere in his apology for what he said in an audio leaked to the Deadspin.com sports website this week.
There was no mention of any disciplinary action taken against Pelini. Perlman and Eichorst declined interview requests. Messages were left for Pelini.
Pelini's rant has captivated a Cornhuskers fan base that has sold out an NCAA-record 328 consecutive games since 1962.
Pelini became unhinged minutes after the Huskers had beaten Ohio State, 34-27, in Lincoln in October 2011. Nebraska erased a 27-6, second-half deficit in the biggest comeback in program history.
The Deadspin audio caught Pelini speaking off air with Husker Sports Network play-by-play man Greg Sharpe and associate athletic director for community relations Chris Anderson.
Pelini criticized people who left the stadium in the third quarter, when the Huskers trailed by 21 points. Pelini repeatedly used expletives while talking on the audio about "fair-weather" fans and how the day was coming that he would be gone and he wondered how the team will fare without him. He also used profanity while criticizing two Omaha World-Herald sports writers.
The Deadspin audio surfaced Monday, 2 days after the Huskers squandered a 21-3 lead and lost, 41-21, to UCLA and on the same day Pelini said at his news conference that the program didn't need the support of Tommie Frazier, the 1990s Huskers great who had tweeted that Pelini should fire his defensive staff.
Former athletic director Tom Osborne, in a statement released yesterday, said he told Perlman and Eichorst on Monday that he was aware of the recording more than a year ago and addressed the matter with Pelini at the time.
"While the comments were certainly not good, I realized that Bo had gone through an emotional week and an emotional game and was in a setting where he thought his comments were entirely private," Osborne said. "I visited with Bo on a weekly basis and did not find that his attitude toward the fans or the press as expressed by those comments were at all in keeping with what I knew his true attitude to be."
* A 19-year-old Lehigh University player has been charged with kicking a man in the face during a fight outside a Bethlehem bar.
Russhon Phillips, a sophomore defensive back from Plymouth Whitemarsh High, was arrested about 12:45 a.m. yesterday and charged with aggravated assault and related offenses.
Police said Phillips kicked 22-year-old Paul Graham in the face while Graham was on the ground. Graham was treated for a facial fracture and other injuries. Court papers say Phillips told police he'd been drinking.
Lehigh coach Andy Coen announced that four players have been suspended from the team in connection with an incident the night before.
* Former Washington coach Don James, 80, will begin chemotherapy next week for a malignant tumor on his pancreas.