Mike Price states his case

Here's the complete transcript of what Mike Price said today after being fired as Tide head coach by UA President Robert Witt.

"Over the past several days, I have been saddened by the rumors that have been swirling about my conduct. I have numerous truthful and honest discussions with the president and our Athletic Director Mal Moore -- our fine Athletic Director Mal Moore, who has dedicated many, many years of service to this university and I was proud to have been picked by him. I had truthful and honest discussions regarding my conduct with these two gentlemen. And I have to apologize from my heart for the errors in my judgement to them.

Publicly, I want to apologize to my wife, my family, the team and the coaches. The athletic department and Alabama support staff has been just tremendous. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. They have been standing up for me, the players have, the coaches have, the secretaries -- two of my graduate assistant secretaries wrote letters to the president. Two equipment managers walked over and sat there for an hour for an opportunity to talk to the president on my behalf. I really appreciate you for standing by me and standing up for me. I beg for your forgiveness, and I pray to God every day for His forgiveness.

"To the university and the entire Bama Nation, I admit making mistakes, and at times inappropriate conduct. But I also ask you for my forgiveness. I have come to appreciate the honor and the privilege associated with Alabama football and the football program and the history and tradition of this place. To realize that I may have adversely affected the program in any way is really personally devastating to me.

"I want to make this clear to everyone listening, I pledge to everyone, any place in the country, not just Alabama, that something like this will never, ever happen again to Mike Price. I will learn from this, and I will seek help to improve certain areas of my personal life that need improving.

"I have asked President Witt for a second chance, and he declined. What ever happened to a second chance in life? I've been doing this for many years, and you don't have to go very many places to ask my players about second chances in life. But President Witt did not give me that opportunity. I wanted to make something positive out of this negative. I really, truly believe that the University of Alabama is bigger and better than this, that we could have overcome this. Why do we have a university? What is a university? A real quick definition is that it is a university of higher learning, that's what they call it. It's about teaching people about life, real life, real life mistakes and overcoming real life adversity. Growing from a teenager into a man. Sending people out into the real world. I really felt like this was an opportunity to stand up, to stand behind me, to stand behind someone they said they believed in, and help him be a better person and overcome this adversity and learn from it. Students, players, faculty, alumni, everyone. I didn't get that opportunity.

"I don't know what kind of world it would be, or how many people would be in that world, if it was a world where you make one mistake and you're done. This university's image is about real people, about changing people's lives. For years and years, it has stood behind its' people through adversity and through the mistakes they have made. But not this time.

"I felt like I could have been the one who could have carried us through this. It could have been a great lesson for us. The whole lesson could have been more important than any sports talk show, any Internet, anything else, any football game or any football player. I could have been an example, and will be an example, to see what happens to you when you make a mistake, you get knocked down. I will show everyone what kind of person Mike Price is. We call them in football teaching opportunities, here's an opportunity. I felt this was an opportunity for the university, and I don't think the punishment meets the crime.

"I strongly feel I was the man who could have put this behind us, and I think President Witt is making a mistake. He's not breaking the law, but he's making an error in judgement. Would he be judged by making errors of judgement, or if he makes a mistake or a professor makes a mistake on campus, is this going to happen? Are you going to give him a second chance if he makes an error in judgement? I do not think this is the best thing for this program right now at this time, for this team or for these football players.

"One week ago, I could have made a statement, but at the request of President Witt, I was asked not to say anything, and I dutifully did my job and didn't say anything. And then I didn't get an opportunity to go into the Board of Trustees and give them my side of the story. I just don't think it's right.

"To my players, I wish you the best of luck in everything you do, and I'll always be there for you. I love every one of you guys, and you know that. We've only been together four months, and yet you were willing to stand up and sacrifice years of eligibility and your career to stand by me, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. And I love every one of you to death.

"I don't know if you remember four months ago, but I think that you felt like I came here as a man with dignity and class. And I am going to go out as a man of dignity and class. One mistake, one day of mistakes, will not change the integrity and the character I have had for 57 years. I am going to get through this, and I am going to be a better person because of it. I hope that you will respect my privacy for the next few days, and the privacy of my family. I am not going to be making any more comments, and neither will they. I would appreciate your help in that."

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