The full video interview that was the source of the issue was replayed, followed by comments from Roy Williams, Rashad McCants and then UNC Sports Information Director Steve Kirschner -- and then they fielded several questions from reporters.
Here are some text excerpts from the press conference...
"The big intention of this was to address some of the comments that came out that were attributed to Rashad over the weekend."
[WRAL-TV interview re-played on press room monitor]
"Across the front of the Herald-Sun it said, ‘McCants compares playing basketball at Carolina to prison.' That's what the headline said in the Durham paper, and that's what the headline said in the Raleigh paper. When I read it I was really ticked off. There's no doubt about it; that was about as mad as I've ever been. It's madder than I've ever been at any player about anything he's said.
"I called the entire team in and handed them a copy of what was written. I told Rashad, in no uncertain terms, that there is a huge difference between playing basketball at UNC and prison. Because one is like Monopoly, I can give him a get out of jail free card because he could leave. He could quit. And if he honestly felt that way, then he should do so. If he was talking about having to go to class, having tutors appointments, having to be on time and be accountable, then darn right, that's the way it is and it wasn't going to change.
"I also told him that this hurt us two ways. If I'm a teammate, it hurt me as a teammate. ‘Here is a guy comparing playing basketball to prison, so playing with me is like being in jail;' saying this is ‘just a job,' I would not like that as a teammate. College basketball is supposed to be fun, even if we have big-time dreams. The majority of my team has big-time dreams. Secondly, I told him I appreciated giving the other schools to send to our recruits for the next five years. We know for a fact that everyone that we're recruiting this year has received copies of these articles in the mail or by fax. I told him that was going to make our jobs a heck of a lot easier.
"I thought the use of the word ‘jail' was a terrible example, as I told his uncle."
"First off, I'm nervous. I just want to start off by saying, I love North Carolina. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. You guys know the story, childhood dream, Michael Jordan, Vince Carter and all that. I wouldn't trade the three years I've had with my teammates for nothing in the world. I love them to death. I wouldn't have asked my sister to re-evaluate going to UConn or Tennessee to come here. I know this is the place where it feels like heaven. Lately, I've started to feel different because I read in the paper something that I never said. It's kind of hard when I come to practice and find out I can't practice. That hurts me because of the expectations that we have for the season, in the locker room, is so high. And that I can't go out and help my teammates become better, because something was misprinted or taken totally out of context.
"We do have responsibilities as players to be in here, work hard and take every thing that we do seriously. We wouldn't be in here using being a basketball player as a hobby. You play video games as a hobby. Even though Coach Williams does disagree with the ‘9-to-5' reference, I do feel like we have a lot of responsibility and accountability of the things we're required to do. We have to come in here and lift; give it all we've got. Be out on the court; stay alert, be focused and give it all we've got. You guys that are doing your jobs right now…some of you like it, some of you don't. Well, this is what I love to do. I love to play basketball. I want to make it my job one day.
"But just to clarify, everything I said was nothing negative about UNC -- the program, recruiting or anything. Every thing is positive and I thought it was a pretty good interview. For anybody to put into bold print that I compared it to prison...it's kind of crazy...but that's all I have to say."
Steve Kirschner, UNC Associate A.D. for Communications:
"I just had a few things that I talked about with Coach that I wanted to say. As upset as I was with the interview when I saw it – I went back and one of the people here at the station was nice enough to show me the tape and make me a copy of the tape – and, when I saw the tape, I saw the Rashad that has really interested me. He's really thoughtful, he's very introspective, and that's the type of interview you all have asked him to give since he is such an engaging guy. The interviews he gave prior to the Duke game last year were some of the best we've ever had. He was very self-evaluative – looked at himself – to talk to you all about that. And to have a long interview like that…and to have one small part of that question become the headline – I thought was very disappointing and not a true reflection of that interview."
"I do love my coaches."
"That was one thing I circled here that he didn't say.
"If I say, ‘playing at North Carolina is like being in prison,' then that's what I said, OK? But to take that from those interviews and do those things, I think that is a pretty liberal excuse and a pretty liberal use of journalism. But I do understand that a lot of you guys write articles, and somebody else puts the headlines down. That was harmful to me. That was harmful to this young man. And like Steve said to me somebody said we were having this press conference at 3 [o'clock] because a prospect was having a press conference at 3 -- that's a big bunch of ‘bunk.'"