Kentucky’s Harrison should apologize for comment

INDIANAPOLIS – A couple of videos that illustrate both sides of a big game at college basketball’s Final Four.

First, some raw video I shot from my spot on press row, showing Wisconsin fans, especially the Grateful Red, celebrating the final seconds of the Badgers’ 71-64 victory over previously undefeated Kentucky. These fans are a lot of fun, with a ton of tradition and energy.

And then, there is video from Kentucky’s postgame press conference. Karl-Anthony Towns was asked what makes Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky so difficult to defend. Towns replies: “A very crafty player, great skills. He uses his height to his advantage.” But before Towns gives his answer, his teammate Andrew Harrison mumbles under his breath with his mouth covered by his hand. If you listen closely, you can hear Harrison say, “Fuck that nigga.”

Not a real nice thing to say about the national player of the year.

Listen for yourself.

One of my followers on Twitter responded to my post with this remark: “I thought Harrison was irritated with the question and that the reporter was the target, not Kaminski. Bad look either way.”

That’s a good point. The consensus in the media work room was that Harrison was taking aim at Kaminsky. Talking to some Kentucky writers who know all the players, they said Andrew Harrison would be more inclined to take a shot like that than any of the Wildcats. But it could have been aimed at the reporter who asked the question. As an aside, he is white – just like Kaminsky.

Maybe Harrison was just frustrated with losing and didn’t want to hear questions about Kaminsky or any of the Badgers. The comment was audible but was not included on the official transcript by ASAPSports – for obvious reasons.

Harrison should know a live mic can pick up anything. If Harrison can’t handle that environment, Kentucky should not put him in the situation. The schools decide who they bring to the formal press conference and who stays in the locker room, which is open at the same time.

And you can’t argue that the coach should be the only one at the press conference. When a game ends at midnight, many writers don’t have time to go to the locker room – especially East Coast reporters facing strict deadlines for a Sunday morning newspaper. The press conference is the fastest way to get player quotes.

Whatever the explanation, Harrison and Kentucky should issue an apology.

UPDATE, APRIL 5 AT NOON: Harrison has issued an apology.  Kentucky has not commented.

At Sunday’s press conference, Kaminsky dismissed the slur and moved on.

“Yeah, he reached out to me,” Kaminsky said. “We talked about it. Over it. Nothing needs to be made out of it.”


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