The George Thompson Controversy:

This past week, a story broke in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel regarding the use of a retired number. The number 24 was worn by Marquette's all-time leading scorer George Thompson. Thompson, was upset with the Marquette because for giving number 24 to Lazar Hayward. Marquette Coach Tom Crean took a moment to respond to the controversy that had occurred.

This past week, a story broke in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel regarding the use of what was believed to be a retired number. That number was number 24, which was worn by the all-time leading scorer in Marquette basketball history, George Thompson. Thompson, who over his career at Marquette recorded 1,773 points, was upset with the Marquette program because they had given his number 24 to freshman Lazar Hayward, a heralded recruit from Buffalo, NY. At the post-game press conference, Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean took a moment to respond to the controversy that had occurred.

"I would hope from my eight years at Marquette that I wouldn't have to defend myself about honoring Marquette's tradition," Crean continued, "We have really tried to honor former players, and I am very into honoring the past and the tradition we have."

Crean went on to express his regret in not handling the situation differently saying, "There is not a chance, that if I thought we were making a mistake, I would have allowed it. In retrospect, I wish I would have called George." Crean continued his apologetic tone saying, "I have told George that no one within the Marquette basketball program would ever try to disrespect him. I am sorry that it happened."

"We fixed the situation right away, and we put Lazar in another jersey, which you saw today," Crean said. "The blame for this situation goes to me, not to Bill Cords or anyone in the athletic department. If there is blame to go around, it should go to me," Crean concluded.

Coach Crean later went on to define his view of Marquette's policy for retiring jerseys and numbers, saying, "In my opinion, we do what UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and Oklahoma State do. When honoring players of past, we are taking the numbers out of the situation, we are honoring the individual. We do not take the number out of the equation but rather the jersey itself is what is retired."

In the end, it appeared that Crean was very apologetic for what was a genuine oversight on his behalf and as he stated, he was willing to do anything to correct the mistakes made and preserve the honor given to Marquette's great players.

**Andrew Phillips is a senior majoring in Political Science.


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