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Nebraska Coach Apologizes for Rant Against 'Fair-Weather' Fans

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USA TODAY
 
September 18, 2013 Wednesday
CHASE EDITION
 
SPORTS; Pg. 8C
 
500 words
 
 
Pelini sorry for expletive-laced rant;
Nebraska coach says audio caught 'private moment'
 
Dan Wolken, @DanWolken, USA TODAY Sports
 

Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini said Tuesday that he felt he's built up enough "points" to earn some forgiveness for a two-year-old audio recording that surfaced Monday in which he used a string of expletives to talk about the school's "fair-weather" fan base and some members of the news media.

"I'm human like anybody else," Pelini said Tuesday during the Big Ten teleconference. "You say things in an emotional moment under certain circumstances, and like anybody else you make mistakes, you apologize for your mistakes and move on. That's all you can do in this situation."

Pelini, who released a statement of apology Monday night, said he had met with Nebraska athletics director Shawn Eichorst and spoken briefly on the phone with chancellor Harvey Perlman, who released a statement Monday night saying he would evaluate the "impact" of the audio tape.

Perlman was asked about the situation again Tuesday after a speaking engagement but declined to comment beyond saying, according to the Omaha World-Herald, "We're disappointed and we are reflecting on the situation."

Pelini said he didn't know if he would be disciplined and declined to interpret the tone of Perlman's statement Monday. "It's hard to say," Pelini said.

Pelini has come under criticism from Nebraska fans for having four losses in each of his five seasons, and Saturday's 41-21 home loss to UCLA only deepened concerns about the direction of the program.

That loss motivated a tipster to give Deadspin audio of the candid, supposedly off-microphone conversation, which was secretly recorded after a win against Ohio State in October 2011, just before Pelini went on the air for his postgame radio show.

Pelini said he had heard previously there was an unflattering audio tape "out there" but didn't know the specifics. It's unclear who leaked the audio.

"Obviously it was a shock to me," Pelini said. "That was a conversation that was private that happened during an emotional time, in a private setting, and it obviously wasn't representative (of my views). It was a difficult time. I vented in a situation where I thought it was a private conversation, and obviously it's unfortunate with it being out there.

"I made a statement along with the university saying that I'm sorry. I'm sorry to anybody it offended, but it was never meant to be public and it's unfortunate it went public. And now that it's out there and I felt it was important to apologize and to have people understand I do believe we have great fans and I respect them, respect them for who they are."

Pelini also denied speculation that he isn't happy at Nebraska, saying he has "never" pursued another job since arriving there. Despite a 51-21 record, Pelini has had to deal with fan restlessness at a program that has struggled to live up to the standards set by legendary coach Tom Osborne, who won national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

"You deal with things, you see adversity, you stare it in the face and you move on," Pelini said. "That's all you can do."

 
September 18, 2013
 
 
 

 

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