SBD/February 15, 2013/Media

Boeheim Explains What Prompted Exchange With Katz, Though Katz Disputes Claims

Boeheim said the incident was related to Katz asking him on-air about Bernie Fine
Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim on Thursday provided his "recollection of the episode that led to" his calling ESPN's Andy Katz "an 'idiot' during his media briefing" after Wednesday night's loss to UConn, according to Bud Poliquin of the Syracuse POST-STANDARD. Boeheim said, "It’s really simple. I went to New York last year to play in the (NIT Pre-Season Tip-Off) Tournament in November and he (Katz) asked if he could interview me about the tournament. And I said, ‘Yeah, but I can’t talk about the (Bernie Fine) investigation.’ We got in the room and he put me on camera -- there were several witnesses there -- and he asked me what I’d told him I couldn’t answer. I kept telling him, ‘I can’t answer that.’ And he asked me, like, 10 times on camera. He never took the camera off me." Boeheim added, "Two or three people in the room were so disgusted they walked out of the room. The producer came over and apologized afterward. And I told Katz right then and there, ‘Don’t talk to me. Do not try to talk to me again.’" When told that the exchange has "become big 'news' in some precincts," Boeheim "suggested otherwise." He said, "This is not a story. It was something, to me, that was out of bounds and I told Katz I would never talk to him again." Asked if he had any regrets about the exchange, Boeheim said, "I probably shouldn't have called him an 'idiot.' That slipped out" (SYRACUSE.com, 2/14).

KATZ DEFENDS HIS REPORTING: Katz on Friday morning refuted Boeheim's recollection about the initial incident, calling it "not accurate." Katz said after the molestation allegations against Fine, a former Syracuse assistant coach, came to light, “whoever was sitting in that seat representing this company was going to ask those questions” to Boeheim about what he knew and about Fine. Katz said of speaking with Boeheim, “We never made an agreement at all. ... There was no precondition to the interview.” Katz noted that “there are certain coaches that if you keep asking them, they’re going to keep talking, and I knew that Jim Boeheim had just talked” about Fine at a press conference. He reiterated Boeheim was “inaccurate" from claiming Katz "said that you can’t ask these certain questions." Katz: “I think this is true for all of us here that we don't get into those kinds of agreements, especially when there's a news story.” He noted during the interview, Boeheim “got very ... demonstrative, but we said, ‘Look, we're going to ask these questions.’ And by the way, we ran two of the bites on ‘SportsCenter’ that night because he did actually answer a couple of them.” Katz said he has “tried and I will continue to try” to make amends with Boeheim, as college basketball "is my primary beat." He said of Boeheim, "He’s obviously made a decision that he does not want to talk to me. I will still try in a professional manner to do that” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 2/15). 

NO HARM, NO FOUL? In New York, Ben Meyers wrote Boeheim "went over the top with his language and location" of calling out Katz. There are "better ways to go about a disagreement, of course, and this will be a major turn off for many, but 1) Boeheim doesn't care 2) Boeheim doesn't need to care ... 900 wins does that 3) ESPN will be back because they need SU and the ACC eventually 4) There is no such thing as bad publicity and 5) This is all a measured response by the coach to divert us from what actually happened" (AUBURNPUB.com, 2/14).
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