CU's Embree stood by Wright

Although disappointed by Twitter messages, Buffs' Embree eager to work with star cornerback.

Yuri Wright's high school expelled him. Michigan stopped recruiting him.

College and high school football fans around the country criticized him.

Meanwhile, Colorado coach Jon Embree stood by him.

"I understand he made a mistake, but I don't think that's a reason that you bury a kid," Embree said on Wednesday, the day he announced CU's 28-player recruiting class, highlighted by Wright.

The only four-star recruit in CU's class, Wright shined on the field at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey. He is widely considered one of the top cornerbacks in the country for the Class of 2012.

There never was a question about whether Wright could a team win.

Last month, however, Wright got in trouble over a series of racially charged and sexually explicit messages on his Twitter account.

"No I didn't have any reservations," Embree said. "It never once crossed my mind not to help this kid, be it if he came here or if he would have gone somewhere else."

As Wright's story became national news, Embree approached CU chancellor Phil DiStefano and athletic director Mike Bohn.

"I had great conversations with the chancellor and I told him I believe that part of my responsibility sitting here in this chair is to mentor and teach African-American boys how to become men and to help them through when they make mistakes," Embree said. "I talked to Mike Bohn and let him know that I was going to continue to recruit the kid. We let the chancellor know and we had conversations there."

While many went on the attack about Wright's mistake, Embree did not.

"It's easy to judge. It's easy to call someone out," he said. "I know I'm not the only one in this room that's glad I was 17 years old in the 80s, when we didn't have cell phones and Facebook and you could just say whatever. I've shared that with our team, about the responsibility that comes with social media. I don't want to ban them."

He does, however, try to educate his players on how to use social media. For instance, he said his rules to players are to avoid Tweeting about girls and teammates and to avoid the use of "the N-word."

"That was probably the most disappointing thing about what Yuri had done was using the N-word," Embree said. "There's no place for it. Unfortunately, it's a generational thing. They say it like it's saying, ‘my homeboy.' I don't think they truly understand the connotation of that word. I don't think they, unfortunately, understand the struggles associated with being African-American to overcome some of those things. And obviously with music, it kind of numbs you to it.

"That was the most disappointing thing about that."

Disappointing, but not worth dropping Wright from scholarship consideration.

"I don't think it's a reason to not allow a kid an opportunity to improve himself," Embree said.

Wright will get that opportunity at Colorado, and Embree expects a more mature player to show up on campus in the fall.

"He touched a hot stove," Embree said. "I'll be surprised if he touches it again. He's very remorseful. He is a good kid. He made a mistake and one I am confident he will not repeat."

Embree added that Wright is set to graduate in the spring. He's currently appealing the decision by Don Bosco Prep and is set to enroll in another school if needed, Embree said.


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