Lannon criticizes actions by Temple, A-10

Updated: March 2, 2005, 11:40 AM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- The president of Saint Joseph's on Tuesday accepted the actions of Temple and coach John Chaney in response to a hard foul that injured a Hawks player, but criticized the school and the Atlantic 10 over the way the situation was handled.

Martelli Proud of Hawks
Phil Martelli spoke to ESPN Radio's GameNight on Tuesday about his team and injured senior forward John Bryant.

Martelli on GameNight 

Chaney suspended himself for one game as punishment for ordering rough play from one of his players that led to senior forward John Bryant breaking his arm in a fall when he was fouled.

When the extent of Bryant's injury was known, Temple extended the suspension to the three games remaining in the regular season. On Monday, Chaney announced he would keep himself out of the Atlantic 10 tournament. The conference agreed with each of the moves.

"The overwhelming feeling within the Saint Joseph's community is that the remedies first announced by Coach Chaney and Temple University did not fully address the severity of what occurred," the Rev. Timothy Lannon said in a statement.

"We believe it is the role of institutional and conference officials, not solely an individual coach, to demonstrate the necessary leadership in upholding the league's code of conduct and assuring the safety of student-athletes in competition," he said.

Chaney sent in a player he described as a "goon" against Saint Joseph's last week in response to what he felt were illegal screens being set by the Hawks. Chaney said he sent in seldom-used Nehemiah Ingram to "send a message" when he thought the officials were not calling what be believed to be illegal screens.

"It bears repeating that there was nothing in the conduct of SJU coaches or student-athletes intended to bring harm to an opponent," Lannon said.

Chaney has apologized to Bryant and his family and offered to pay any medical bills. Lannon called Chaney's meeting with Bryant's family "appropriate."

Saint Joseph's officials had refused to comment, only offering a tersely worded statement Saturday that said "a line was crossed." Lannon said the school was moving toward reconciliation.

Lannon said coach Phil Martelli, Bryant and his family would not comment again. Representatives from Temple and the A-10 both declined comment Tuesday.

The Hawks beat George Washington 71-56 on Tuesday night to win the outright conference title. The conference tournament starts March 9 in Cincinnati.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press