Two University of North Carolina basketball players, one of whom allegedly received death threats, have apologized for breaching COVID-19 protocols last weekend and causing the cancellation of the Tar Heels' home game Monday against the University of Miami.
"We apologize for not adhering to the University’s and athletic department’s guidelines and apologize to Coach [Roy] Williams and his staff for not stepping forward when he first addressed it with us on Sunday," read a statement issued by the UNC athletic department on behalf of the players — Armando Bacot and Day'Ron Sharpe — and team managers, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
The Journal reported that less than an hour after the statement was released Tuesday, Bacot's mother, Christie Lomax, tweeted, "It brings me great concern that there have been threats toward my son, Armando Bacot's life, by individuals; one, who don't know him nor our family personally and two, did not know the whole story and truth.
"We are all dealing in a time that is extremely unfamiliar, making adjustments can be hard and not doing the things we love can make us sad. I understand. At no time is it OK to threaten someone, it's unnecessary and downright evil. Let's not forget to love ourselves so that we can pass on love to others. God loves us all, Prayers to All."
In a statement attributed to Williams, the coach said of Bacot and Sharpe, "They’ve been fantastic for more than eight months in the way they have dealt with the whole situation with the virus. But they realize they did make a mistake, for which they are paying a very significant price.”
Meanwhile, it appears Miami will not seek reimbursement from UNC for travel expenses. The Hurricanes flew a chartered plane to Chapel Hill on Sunday and were eating their pregame meal when coach Jim Larranaga overheard a few of his players mention a Snapchat video that showed Sharpe and Bacot breaking the university’s COVID-19 protocols at a gathering without masks early Sunday morning.
Larranaga voiced his concerns and both schools came to an agreement not to play about two hours before the scheduled tip-off. Miami did not disclose how much the trip cost, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh, citing a Miami Herald report.