MPC Computers Bowl officials apologize to BC

Updated: December 30, 2005, 12:12 PM ET
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho -- The CEO of MPC Computers apologized to Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka on Thursday for making fun of his name during a banquet before the Eagles' bowl game against Boise State.

At a banquet Monday night before the MPC Computers Bowl between the Eagles and Boise State, Mike Adkins read a list of the top 10 things Boise and Boston have in common, including, "No one in either city can properly pronounce Mathias Kiwanuka." Adkins mispronounced Kiwanuka's name in the punchline and some Boston College players said later they found the joke insulting and disrespectful.

Kiwanuka is the grandson of Uganda's first prime minister, assassinated by mass-murdering dictator Idi Amin. Adkins apologized to Kiwanuka in a statement Thursday.

"The MPC Computers Bowl, whose roots are based on a humanitarian model of service, would never attempt to discredit, humiliate or offend anyone," said Gary Beck, the bowl's executive director. "We again apologize to Mr. Kiwanuka for any discomfort or embarrassment the speech at the event caused him or his family. It was certainly unintentional and without any malice."

Beck said the game, which began its nine-year history as the Humanitarian Bowl, would develop policies and procedures for guest speakers at future events to ensure an impartial atmosphere.

Boston College coach Tom O'Brien credited the Boise State boosterism at the banquet for inspiring his team to defeat the Broncos on Wednesday night. The Eagles won 27-21.

"We go to a banquet that turns into a pep rally. I ought to thank the mayor and the people of Boise for getting this team ready to play," O'Brien said after the game. "There wasn't anything I had to do to get this team ready."

Mayor David Bieter acknowledged Thursday that he had ended a welcome speech at the banquet with a plug for the hometown Broncos, who have participated in the bowl four of its nine years. But he didn't believe his remark was out of line.

"As the mayor of the city, a little friendly comment seemed appropriate," Bieter told the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press