Scandal a 'general attack against our sons'

Updated: February 22, 2004, 9:57 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Several dozen parents of Colorado football players spoke out in support of the program and their children Sunday, saying they were tired of seeing their sons painted with the broad brush of scandal.

The parents also expressed unequivocal support for head coach Gary Barnett, who was placed on administrative leave last week by CU President Elizabeth Hoffman after he had criticized the athletic ability of a female kicker who alleges a fellow player raped her when she was on the team.

"I've known this man to be a man of the highest integrity," said Gary Klatt, father of starting quarterback Joel Klatt.

Barnett's suspension was the latest development in a burgeoning scandal that has seen three women file lawsuits alleging they were assaulted by players and high-school recruits during or after an off-campus party in 2001.

The parents, who spoke at a Boulder hotel Sunday, would not discuss any of the allegations but defended their children and the team.

Brad Littlehales, whose son Tyler is a wide receiver, described the charges against the program as a "general attack against our sons," and said the team was probably more united as a result of the scandal.

The parents said they wanted an investigation into the football program to go forward as quickly as possible.

"As coach Barnett has clearly said, he's going nowhere," said Bob Creighton of Niwot, whose son, Paul, is a tight end.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press