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Cal AD scolds Bielema for “death certificate” comment; Bielema apologizes

University of Arkansas Introduces Bret Bielema Getty Images

On Friday the California football family celebrated the life of Ted Agu, who recently passed away after collapsing during a conditioning drill. Agu’s death was referenced by Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema when asked about the evidence to support a rule proposal designed to slow down the tempo of the offense in college football. As you may have heard by now, the comment did not exactly go over with much grace. This we expect from Bielema though.

Bielema’s comments were addressed Friday by California Athletics Director Sandy Barbour, who scolded Bielema for taking advantage of a tragedy to further his agenda.

Bielema has since offered an apology for his comments.

“It was brought to my attention that remarks I made yesterday evening while discussing a proposed rule change were unintentionally hurtful,” Bielema’s statement reads. “My comments were intended to bring awareness to player safety and instead they have caused unintended hurt. I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Agu family, Coach Sonny Dykes and to the University of California family.”

Bielema certainly did not mean to offend anybody with his comments referencing Agu’s passing, but sometimes in the heat of a moment a coach can say something without having much of a filter. Bielema has always spoken freely when asked for his opinions. This is just the latest example of it coming back to bite him. The Razorbacks head coach took plenty of heat for his comment, both in our comment section, on Twitter and from multiple reporters and other members of the media. In an interview with Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, Bielema attempted to explain in more detail what he was trying to say when he brought up the death certificates comment.

“I’m talking about the concussion crisis, sickle cell trait. This one [sickle cell trait] really scares you because you don’t know when it’s coming. The kids have difficulty breathing. They don’t want to come out of practice or the game. All the ones I’ve ever been around, they want to stay in because they don’t want their teammates to think they’re quitting or stopping. What we began to rationalize is that when these players pass when they’re involved in these conditioning drills, they pull themselves out of it or the trainer pulls them out of it because they’re having difficulties. What if you’re in the middle of the third or fourth quarter and you know that the kid standing 15 yards away from you or on the other side of the field has this trait. He’s got this built-in possibility of something happening. Your doctors have told you about it. Your trainers have told you about it. He looks at you through those eyes or maybe the trainer even says, “Hey coach, you need to get him out of there.” And you can’t. You have no timeouts. He’s not going to fake an injury. He’s not going to fall down.”

The defensive substitution rule proposal would prevent an opposing offense from snapping the football for the first ten seconds on the play clock. This allows defenses to substitute players on every play before getting caught in a rushed tempo by the offense. Player safety was one of the primary reasons for the proposal when it was reported, but it is being criticized as an attempt to hurt teams that have found a winning formula with an up-tempo offensive style. It does not seem as though the rule will have enough votes to be passed, but Bielema is going to continue to stand by his opinions anyway.

Whether you agree with him or not, let us just hope Bielema handles arguing his case with some better examples moving forward.

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12 Responses to “Cal AD scolds Bielema for “death certificate” comment; Bielema apologizes”
  1. dcviking says: Feb 21, 2014 7:50 PM

    Given what a tool Bert Bielema is — is anyone surprised that he said something like this?

    Badgers are better off without him.

    signed –

    Gopher FAn

  2. 10kmp says: Feb 21, 2014 8:08 PM

    Bielema is, by an enormously wide margin, the biggest a$$ in all of college football… and that’s saying something. He consistently inserts his fat foot in his huge mouth, and if he isn’t saying something stupid then his wife is (#karma). I have no clue why any kid would choose to play for him. No idea whatsoever.

  3. padraighansen says: Feb 21, 2014 9:17 PM

    Bert met his wife in the Wynn Casino in Vegas…which begs the question, “Why was a single woman trolling the Wynn for a date in Vegas?”

    Hmmm. That’s a mystery.

    Both are douchebags. Ignorant douchebags.

    Both Bielemas confuse the size of Bert’s check with his overall ability and her relevance to the human race.

  4. onlyoneleft says: Feb 21, 2014 9:43 PM

    Fits right in in the SEC.

  5. noaxetogrind says: Feb 21, 2014 11:43 PM

    Bielma hardly qualifies as an SEC guy. The guy has never even won an SEC game. His success in the Big 10 hasn’t quite translated in the SEC. No offense to Arkansas but you all screwed up on this hire. His wife and him are the perfect match as well. He will be leaving Arkansas as probably the highest paid coach in the country if you compare his salary to number of wins.

  6. auburntigers34 says: Feb 22, 2014 1:37 AM

    onlyoneleft says: Feb 21, 2014 9:43 PM

    Fits right in in the SEC.

    He obviously doesn’t fit in the SEC. If he can survive three seasons, I’ll be more than shocked.

  7. onbucky96 says: Feb 22, 2014 3:50 AM

    Dropped from the Apology include ” Lord, how did I get a hot skinny wife that likes #karma tweets” and “we look forward to winning our 1st SEC game”. Bret, you’re not missed in Wisconsin, and your mouth keeps writing checks your team can’t cash. #karma

  8. wilburmills says: Feb 22, 2014 8:10 AM

    jilted badgers never miss a chance to bash Bielema….

  9. thraiderskin says: Feb 22, 2014 1:37 PM

    I live in Western Wisconsin, While Bielema’s departure was a surprise, I think most were more surprised that another school wanted him. As an Ohio State fan, Bielema was lucky to be handed a program like Wisconsin, its too bad he was too stupid to realize it. No one in Wisconsin looks at these past 2 season’s and thinks to themselves, “man if we could only get Bielema back.”

    So Wilburmills, you can keep thinking that UW fans are jilted, but they are not, in fact, most are laughing about how fortunate the University was that Bielema is so stupid. Of course, that is just the observation of a fan of another B1G school living in enemy territory (roughly 2 hours North of Madison).

  10. amosalanzostagg says: Feb 22, 2014 2:55 PM

    Bielema wants the rule change because he simply cannot compete in the SEC West,much less the SEC as a whole. He wants to return to his B1G roots and play three yards and a cloud of dust. Ole Miss and Mississippi State have passed him by and unless he is willing to change with the times, I don’t see him passing Alabama, Auburn, LSU,Texas A&M,Ole Miss,
    and Mississippi State. Where does that put Arkansas? Dead last. Even Kentucky and fricking Vanderbilt have passed Arkansas.

    Saban and Bielema are just plain wrong.


  11. dbfan4ever says: Feb 22, 2014 6:19 PM

    These guys sounding like old codgers wanting to bring back the “good old days”! Sorry but it looks like the game has past you by

  12. packerbadger says: Feb 25, 2014 10:29 AM

    Bulemia is the biggest dbag in football….. maybe all sports. Good riddance to him from my alma mater. Good fit into the $ECheat though; he’s already Satans lapdog. I don’t miss the “wtf just happened” look that he seemed to have quite frequently while roaming the sidelines. Best feature about him is distance.

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