BY CLYDE HUGHES
Andrew Harrison is young and after missing out on history Saturday night, he probably had a reason to be mad after Frank Kaminsky and the Wisconsin Badgers whipped his Kentucky Wildcats in the semifinals, denying them the first perfect college basketball season since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.
But his comments about Kaminsky in the postgame news conference are inexcusable regardless how hot he thought the microphone was at the conference table in front of reporters.
Yes, the “F*** that n-word” was pretty much heard by everyone who needed to hear it, as the Kentucky sophomore tried to hide it under his breathe when the question was asked about the Kaminsky.
Kaminsky, The Associated Press Player of the Year, had just lit up the Kentucky for 20 points, 11 rebounds in the game, settling a score in last year’s national semifinals when he failed to show up with an eight-point effort in a one-point loss to the same Wildcat team.
Harrison, whether on his own or Kentucky coaching staff-induced, went to Twitter to apologize in a series of Twitter posts the wee hours Sunday morning after the social media network and other media outlets showered him with criticism.
Granted Harrison, one-half of the best twin-combo in all of college basketball, was fresh off of the heat of battle. He’s a sophomore and will hopefully learn from this embarrassment, which at the least is sour grapes and a reaction of spoiled basketball player used to getting his way on the court.
But as a nation, we’ve just come off of trying to put the n-word back into box again – think University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon – and telling the word how terrible the word is. Now, in one of sport’s biggest forums, we have one of college basketball’s biggest stars using the word in a news conference. Then apologizing for it at 3 a.m.? Please.
And frankly, Andrew Harrison had microphone stuck in face since he was a star high school basketball player in Texas. This was hardly the first time he’s had to face the media after a difficult loss. I can’t find one honest, realistic reason to give him a pass.
Grant it, everyone makes mistakes. The kid shouldn’t be buried for it. But he needs to give more than passing wink of an apology for it either. A public statement or video statement perhaps? In the name of good sportsmanship and for those to abhor the n-word, it would be the proper gesture.
Last week, Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes found out just how hot the press conference hot microphones were when he tried to whisper to his teammates how beautiful he thought the Badgers NCAA stenographer was. Well, everyone heard, with predictable results.
Maybe the real lesson here for players is if it’s not meant for everyone to hear, just don’t say it at all!