Martelli called Bonnies fan 'moron' at game

Updated: January 26, 2004, 4:48 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli apologized on Monday for calling a St. Bonaventure fan a "moron" and "nitwit."

"I've known all year that this would be a challenge for my team to conduct themselves in a manner befitting our standing and the attention that we're getting," Martelli said during a conference call. "And as the head coach, I need to set that example. My focus is now directly on Temple, and I would prefer that this situation be put behind me."

Martelli's exchange with the fan, Mary Palmer, came with 4 minutes left in the first half of the No. 3 Hawks' 114-63 win over the Bonnies.

Palmer yelled out, questioning why the Hawks were pressing the Bonnies despite enjoying a 25-point lead.

Martelli snapped back, yelling, "Shut up, you nitwit." A few seconds later he turned around again and added: "You should be embarrassed by your own team, you moron."

Afterward, Martelli was still irked, saying he kept pressing because the Bonnies were still competing.

Martelli said he wrote a letter of apology to Palmer and would try to call her on Monday.

"The story should've been about great fan support, supporting their team, along with an extraordinary performance by my team not my reaction to a fan," Martelli said.

The Hawks (17-0, 7-0 Atlantic-10) try and extend their school-record win streak Saturday at Temple.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press