Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl Apologizes For KKK Joke


September 25, 2009

Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl Apologizes For KKK Joke
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl
apologized for a joking remark that linked the rural home of one his players to
the Ku Klux Klan.

The Volunteers’ fifth-season coach was caught on camera
Thursday by WBIR-TV during a charity fundraising event describing the challenge
of shaping a team of players from different backgrounds.

“I’ve got a tough job,” the Boston native said. “I’ve got
to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I’ve got guys from
Chicago, Detroit. I’m talking about the ‘hood! And I’ve got guys from Grainger
County, where they wear the hood!”

The audience laughed loudly, but after WBIR-TV aired the
remarks the coach issued an apology.

“I made the statement in jest to describe the diverse
group our staff recruits year-in and year-out,” Pearl said in a statement
released Friday to The Associated Press. “Unfortunately while I was trying to
excite the crowd and encourage employees to give, I made an inappropriate joke.”

He said he “certainly did not intend to offend anyone and
I apologize to everyone, especially the people of Grainger County,” the
northeast Tennessee county that’s home to freshman Skylar McBee.

“There’s no hard feelings at all,” McBee’s father, Doug
, told The Knoxville News Sentinel. “We are country up here, but we’re not
prejudiced. It was a joke, and that’s how I took it.”

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