By Stephen Tsai
University of Hawai‘i head football coach Greg McMackin apologized for making a disparaging comment during today’s speech to reporters at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview.
In describing a battle of chants between Notre Dame and UH during last year’s Hawai‘i Bowl Banquet, McMackin said the Fighting Irish performed a “little faggot dance.”
He repeated the phrase twice more in trying to apologize.
“I would sincerely like to apologize for the inappropriate verbage of words that I used,” McMackin said. “I have nothing against the University of Notre Dame. I don’t talk like that. I’m realy ticked off at myself for saying that. I don’t have any prejudices. It really makes me mat that I said that. I’m disappointed in myself.”
McMackin described the loss to Notre Dame as the worst in his 40-year career.
“It ticks me off that I said that because Notre Dame played a great ball game,” McMackin said. “What I was trying to do was be funny, and I wasn’t funny, and it’s not funny. Even more, it isn’t funny to me. I was trying to make a joke. It was a bad choice of words. I really, really feel that.
“I wanted to apologize,” he added. “I’m going to apologize to my team. I’m going to apologize to the people of Hawai‘i. ... All I can do is apologize, and I feel bad that I used those words. It was really stupid. I just feel really bad. I apologize.”
Middle linebacker Brashton Satele, who also attended the meet-the-media event, said it was out of character for McMackin to use the phrase.
“He loves everybody,” Satele said. “He never says anything bad about anybody.”
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said the issue will now be handled by the university.
Benson said there is a sportsmanship clause in the WAC bylaws, and that McMackin might face sanctions ranging from a reprimand to suspension.
Each WAC coach is allotted 30 minutes to give a preview of his team. The segments are recorded on video, and shown on the WAC’s Web site.
Benson said McMackin’s comments will not be posted.
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Transcript of part of McMackin's speech:
"I think I screwed up, because the night before the game — getting back to Notre Dame — they'd been in a slump, and I think we were favored in the game for a while. I don't know why. They had 48 Parade All-Americans, and we have none. But what happened is we had a banquet the night before, so Charlie (Weis) gets up with the, you, we're up with the presidents and all that, and my team is over here and his team is over here. And I know most of the coaches in the country were rooting for us to beat Notre Dame. Charlie gave this talk, and then he goes — any Notre Dame fans in here? Anybody like Notre Dame? OK, good, good. See, that's the bad thing. Not many people do unless you're a true Notre Dame guy. And I knew, the whole country's watching and they want us to win. It made me sick after that game. It made me sick. But I screwed up, and I'll never do this again. He had his guys. 'We do something special at Notre Dame,' he said, and they get up and they do this little cheer, like this (clap), you know, this little faggot dance. And you remember, Jason and Stephen, so my guys were looking at me. They're all looking at me trying not to laugh. So I gave them the shaka. Don't write that 'faggot' down. I was misquoted. Anyway, I gave them the shaka. So our guys get up, and it was the best (ha‘a) I've ever seen. I mean, they're on their chair. They have beads on, they're ripping their beads off. I mean, it was a little scary. I think Notre Dame watched that and said: 'We better have ourselves ready,' because they really played a good game. I can't take away. Their quarterback was on fire. I even challenged the last play of the half because there's no way that guy could have caught it. We had two guys on him. He caught it out of bounds with his toes in, and it was. It was just great execution. So, anyway, just please. Last year, you covered for me as far as (inavertently mentioning a) recruit. Cover for me. Go ahead. Say 'faggot dance.' No, please cover for me on that, too. Right, Karl? I'll deny it. Anything else?"
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Apparently the new contract between the WAC and ESPN guarantees that about six WAC football games will be shown on ESPN-U.
Thing is, only one of those games has been set. The UH-Navy game is expected to be added to the ESPN-U schedule.
ESPN-U is required to give only 12-days notice if it decides to pick up a game.
That would impact UH, which sells pay-per-view subscriptions of its home football games.
ESPN-U uses its own production and broadcast crew. It also requires that its telecatsts be shown live and free to cable subscribers.
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Greg McMackin will address the media at today's WAC Football Preview in Salt Lake City. Center John Estes and middle linebacker Brashton Satele will have individual interviews with WAC print and broadcast reporters today.