Mackovic's apology

It was a wild day for the Arizona football team. The day after a number of players complained to University President Peter Likins, a contrite John Mackovic addressed the media. Here is a transcript of Mackovic's statement to the media.

"Last night a contingent of team members met with President Peter Likins to discuss my leadership with the football team. The meeting of the team members and the President was without my knowledge. Subsequent to that meeting President Likins called Athletics Director Jim Livengood to apprise him of the remarks of the meeting.

"At 9:30 p.m. Jim and I sat down for approximately 90 minutes to discuss the situation and see if we could come to a mutual understanding and I believe we have done so. Jim listed items to me that were conveyed to him and we discussed them in detail. I was forthcoming with my comments and listened to his reactions. He has assured me that a complete list of comments will be given to me as quickly as possible.

"The genesis of the discomfort on our team most likely comes from comments I made to the team after our loss to Wisconsin. On the Monday following the game I said many things that were inappropriate for that time and place. Most importantly I allowed my emotions to get control of me.

"The Head Coach is responsible for the leadership of his team. I've always placed high standards on my conduct as well as my teams'. On that day and other days I have failed to live up to my own standards. Just as important is that I knew from the start I was wrong in addressing the team as I did. I failed to correct the situation the next day and allowed it to fester for these weeks. I'm sorrowful for my actions and inactions.

"On that same Monday I made similar comments to our coaching staff which I have regretted as well. My actions and inactions in correcting the situation lie squarely on my shoulders.

"As one writer once put it, "football is not ballet." Football is a demanding and competitive game that requires more discipline and sacrifice than any other. While I have always espoused coaching and teaching in a positive manner I have not always been able to discipline myself to achieve the model in which I've fashioned. For this I have many regrets.

"Among other things that were reported was that I told a player as recently as last Saturday that he was, "a disgrace to his family" for the way he was playing. I made a full and open apology to him and I hope he can accept it.

"This afternoon I met with the coaches and our team separately to express my feelings and my regrets. I'm terribly sorry for my part in this turmoil and unrest. I accept full responsibility for my actions and I pledge to work tirelessly to mend fences.

"I met with our team for about 90 minutes here as you probably know and I gave each and every member an opportunity to speak to me directly with feelings he had, concerns and any issue. I don't believe that anyone who wanted to speak did not have that opportunity. As is the case with any session like that some things go back and forth and at times it got off the track of where it needed to be. As one player said, "if we were undefeated we probably wouldn't be here." It may be true and it may not be true, and that responsibility is mine.

"I've asked for an opportunity, with our team, to do a better job with them. Some of them obviously are supportive of that, some of them I feel aren't as supportive. All I can pledge at this point is that I'd do anything and everything possible to restore the pride and dignity of our program. I intend to do that. I intend to do whatever is possible so that our fans can feel the pride and see our team play with that same pride .Some thing we have not had and some thing that is my responsibility to restore.

"I know we're going to go out to practice today and I intend to be at practice as well."

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