Posted on: April 19, 2011 8:25 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 8:26 pm
Posted by Matt Jones
ESPN analyst Bobby Knight apologized to the University of Kentucky and its former basketball players on Tuesday for false statements he made during a speaking engagement in Wabash, Indiana. While speaking to a group of Indiana fans, Knight decided to take another opportunity to poke a jab at a favorite target of his, Kentucky coach John Calipari. He stated that he was against the college "one and done" rule and said that Kentucky's team in 2009-2010 had five starters in the NCAA tournament that all had not been to class their entire Spring semester.
The statement immediately set off outrage throughout the Bluegrass state and was shown to be false. All five of Kentucky's starters finished the Spring semester at Kentucky, with one player (Patrick Patterson) graduating from Kentucky and another (Darius Miller) still on the team currently. UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart issued a statement expressing "great offense" at Knight's comments and two of the players on the team, Patterson and Demarcus Cousins, both tweeted out their disappointment in Knight's statement.
On Tuesday, Knight responded to the criticism with the following statement:
"My overall point is that 'one and dones' are not healthy for college basketball. I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players and I apologize."
The statement does give college basketball fans the rare chance to see Bobby Knight apologize for anything, but is evasive of an actual apology for his false statements. He does express contrition for making a statement "personal" to the Kentucky players, but doesn't address the fact that the statements were also demonstrably false. After Knight's statement, Norby Williamson, executive vice president of ESPN production released this statement:
"Bob Knight's comments do not reflect the opinions of and are not endorsed by ESPN. We have communicated to him our disappointment and welcome his apology."
As of yet there has been no acknowledgement by Knight that his statements were false and when I contacted ESPN spokesman Mike Humes on Tuesday, he had no comment on whether Knight would acknowledge the false statements or whether he would be disciplined by the company.