A day before his team got rolled by Nebraska 56-21, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian created quite the stir with some very harsh words directed toward Reggie Bush.
Speaking to ESPN‘s Shelly Smith Friday in what most outside observers assumed was an on-the-record conversation, Sarkisian, an assistant at USC during Bush’s time with the Trojans, blasted the running back’s decision to forfeit his Heisman earlier in the week without an accompanying apology.
“He had a chance to apologize, look like the good guy,” Sarkisian said. “But in giving it back and not apologizing, he just looks like an idiot again.”
This morning, Sarkisian was in full damage control mode following the uproar his comments created, releasing the following statement on his personal website.
“Reggie Bush was the best player in college football and USC was the best team because of what happened on the field, not off. No one prepared better, practiced harder, and ultimately performed more consistently. It’s unfortunate that this controversy has gone on this long, and it’s time to move on and focus on some of the great things happening in college football right now.”
Following the loss to the Cornhuskers, Sarkisian expounded further on the situation. The coach intimated that the comments he made to Smith – who served as a sideline reporter for the Nebraska-Washington game — were off-the-record and uttered in what he thought was the privacy of a meeting held ahead of today’s game.
“The quotes came out in a production meeting for [the game against Nebraska,” Sarkisian said. “In general, those production meetings are not for print media. …
“It was a conversation, it was part of a conversation where there were quotes on both sides. It’s unfortunate, it’s a great learning lesson for me about when things get said around media, they’re live.”
In other words, the Huskies beat writers’ jobs just got a whole helluva lot tougher. As could Smith’s, come to think of it, as coaches in the future could very well think twice about divulging anything pertinent for fear it becomes public knowledge.