Knight: 'different choice of words' needed

Updated: December 24, 2003, 3:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Bobby Knight apologized Tuesday for using profanity toward a reporter who asked Iowa coach Steve Alford about his relationship with the Texas Tech's men's basketball coach in a nationally televised interview, reports the Dallas Morning News.

ESPN aired the interview, but bleeped out the obscenities, during Monday night's Texas Tech-Iowa game, then replayed it on SportsCenter.

Knight issued the apology during his weekly TV show Tuesday, saying he should have worded his opinion differently, the paper reported for its Wednesday edition.

"I think as a person, I always have a right to my opinion," Knight said. "But I think as a representative of the university, there should have been a way that I would have expressed that opinion over the question that was asked with a different choice of words.

"I've talked to the university about that, and have apologized to them for that and really understand what should have happened and what I wish would have happened."

Athletic director Gerald Myers told the Morning News that he would make sure every TV station in Lubbock had the tape for their nightly newscasts.

"Neither the university nor the athletic department in any way condones the use of profanity in coach Knight's description of his feelings about the media," Myers said in a statement.

"He apologized, and that's it," Myers added, who considers the issue dead, according to the paper.

Texas Tech chancellor Dr. David Smith withheld comment Tuesday evening, telling the Morning News that he had not seen the interview. Senior vice chancellor Richard Butler, however, condemned Knight's comments.

"We appreciate his coaching wisdom and what he does for the student-athletes," Butler said. "We don't appreciate that sort of language, and we don't think our constituents do. He's been extremely positive for Texas Tech, but we don't think that kind of language helps the university."

Coach-turned-journalist Fran Fraschilla handled the ESPN interview. Fraschilla asked Alford to talk about what's been perceived by the media as a rift between the two.

"How much was fact? How much was fiction?" Fraschilla asked. Before Alford could answer, Knight interrupted.

"Let me answer that. That is an absolute crock of [expletive]," said Knight, who used a variety of profanities while riffing on the subject. "All you media people can go [expletive] yourself when it comes to something like that."

Earlier this month, the paper notes, Knight chastised SMU students for using the same sort of language.

Fraschilla insists that the question needed to be asked, and said he still respects Knight.

ALSO SEE