Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Aubrey got tangled, and his momentum carried him forward"

Houston guard Aubrey Coleman joins the sad pantheon of college athletes doing the inexcusable in competition. The incident begins at 4:49 of the following video:

Houston coach Tom Penders responded to the incident as follows:
"I know Aubrey, and I have never seen him lose his temper or composure or anything."
Nor did he on this occasion. He appeared to coolly and deliberately stamp on an opponents face, and was, naturally and deservedly, ejected from the game.
"I'm just sorry the official interpreted it that way. The way I saw it, Aubrey got tangled, and his momentum carried him forward, and I think it was a mistake."
One wishes that this was a sarcastic comment from Penders. Should he not see the light, then it is up to Conference USA to hit Coleman with a lengthy suspension. As for the stampee Chase Budinger, he got the last laugh despite getting charged with a technical foul for his reaction. Arizona won the game 96-90 in overtime.

Update 6:29 PM

Coleman has issued a non-apology which does not pass the snicker test, and Penders is standing by his player:
"I want to apologize to Chase Budinger for what happened Saturday night. I never meant to step on him," Coleman said. "I have never been in an incident like this before, and I have nothing but respect for him as a great player."

"I love the game too much to do something like that intentionally. I want to say I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I know that God knows what is in my heart, but I am hopeful that Chase will understand and forgive." . . .

Like his player, head coach Tom Penders said he regretted the incident but felt confident Coleman did not intentionally step on Budinger.

"Aubrey is one of the finest kids, both on the floor and off the floor, that I have had the privilege to coach," Penders said. "I know that he regrets the situation, but he is an exemplary student-athlete in all ways, shapes and forms."

LinkPenders said he and his staff would work with director of athletics Dave Maggard and Athletics Department administrators to further review the incident carefully.

Update (2) 7:12 PM Monday

CUSA has suspended Coleman for a grand total of 1 game. What a joke.

Update (3) 10:40 Monday

Houston Director of Athletics Dave Maggard completes the Epic Fail:

"During his career at UH, Aubrey has never been involved in an incident that could question his respect for this game," director of athletics Dave Maggard said. "He has apologized to Chase Budinger for what occurred, and Conference USA officials have taken action regarding this matter."

"The University of Houston has always and will continue to uphold the highest levels of sportsmanship in every respect. We apologize to the University of Arizona, its basketball team and to the Tucson community for what occurred Saturday evening. Aubrey will be suspended for Wednesday night's game, and we now consider the matter to be closed."

Update (4) 7:41 PM Wednesday

I made a mistake on Monday by proclaiming this story completed. Both Penders and Coleman have been unable to keep their mouths shut, the result being that Penders is coming across as a bigger ***, and Coleman as a bigger fool.

Penders has claimed that video of the incident was 'doctored' by ESPN. Decide for yourself:

Go here for the audio. But the most ridiculous indication that both Penders and Coleman need to return to the reality-based world is that fact that both are now claiming that Coleman did not make contact with Budinger's face:

"He attempted to step over Chase; at no time did he mean to hurt the kid," Penders said. "It's clear on the replay that he never touches his face, but his shoulder."

Coleman said he thought Budinger was flopping on the play. He said he thought it was going to be a block, not a charge. He said he looked up, reacted, and then "I tried to step over him. He knows it was his shoulder. I even rolled my ankle [trying to avoid] him. I wanted to see if he was OK, but he was up on me," he said.
Yep folks, Coleman's only concern was the safety of his stampee. On a more serious note, ESPN is reporting that Coleman has been the target of harassing e-mails, including racial slurs:
Houston coach Tom Penders said that Coleman, and members of the team, have been getting "very ugly" e-mails over the incident. "There's been a lot of racial slurs," said Coleman, who is black. Budinger is white. "It's crazy. I saved the e-mails. I haven't been contacted, but I do know the police and the FBI were at the practices to make sure everything was safe."
This is contemptible behavior, and if the FBI is indeed investigating, may god speed their inquiries.