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September 17, 2013
Pelini apologizes for mistake, focused on moving on
The past 48 hours have been a hectic and embarrassing ride for Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, and he continued to try and explain his side of the story on Tuesday regarding his expletive-laden audio recording that surfaced on Monday afternoon.
After the sports website Deadspin published a leaked recording of Pelini blasting fans and local media members following the Huskers' comeback win over Ohio State in 2011, the sixth-year head coach issued a statement Monday night apologizing for what he had said. On Tuesday morning, Pelini addressed the issue again during the weekly Big Ten teleconference for his full allotted 10 minutes on the call.
He faced the issue for a third time following Tuesday's practice, where roughly 45 local reporters gathered around to listen. Just as he was in his statement and during the Big Ten teleconference, Pelini was up front and honest about the ordeal and what he has learned from all that has transpired over the past few days.
"Yeah, that there could be a microphone around at any time, no matter what," Pelini said. "I think I addressed it earlier today, but I'm human like anybody else. You make your mistakes and you move on. Obviously what was said in that room that day was not meant for public consumption. It was an extremely emotional evening - week for that matter, but especially that evening.
"I'm not making any excuses. I'm a grown man, and I accept responsibility for what I said, but I think we've all said things that we don't necessarily mean when you get frustrated. You learn from it. That was a long time ago that that happened, and I believe I've continued to grow as a head coach and in a lot of different ways since that point."
Pelini said he hasn't had any further contact with Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst or university chancellor Harvey Perlman since his brief conversations with them Monday night. He added that there has been no talk regarding any a possible suspension or other discipline.
"I fully anticipate coaching this weekend," Pelini said. "I haven't been given any assurances, but you just proceed with the information you have, and I'm the head football coach until somebody says differently."
Since the recording was released, there have been heated reactions from the Nebraska fan base and former players on both sides of the issue, especially on social media platforms such as Twitter. Pelini said he's had a number of family, friends, former players and colleagues reach out to him over the past couple days, but has done his best to block out most of the public response so far.
"Like I said, I've been focused on we have to do," Pelini said. "I'm focused on doing my job the best I can."
As for his players, Pelini said he's been proud of the way the Huskers have remained focused this week on the task at hand, which is Saturday's home game against South Dakota State. He said his team has had two "great" practices so far and has kept great focus despite all the outside distractions.
"I said, 'This doesn't affect you. It's not about you,'" Pelini said of his message to his players. "'This is a situation that involves me, and just stick with your football and focus on what you have to do. It's a situation that I need to deal with personally.'"
While Pelini has been able to tune out much of the backlash from the fan base about his insults from two years ago, he knows he won't be able to escape it when he takes the Memorial Stadium field for the first time on Saturday afternoon. His hope, though, is that Husker Nation accepts his apology and - just like he's tried to do with his team and himself - move on.
"I would anticipate that the fans understand the situation, the timeline of when that happened, all the things," Pelini said. "Like I said, I would think that the rational people out there would understand and look into their own lives also and say, you know, a lot of times you say things you don't necessarily mean. I've said it over and over since I've been here: the respect and the love that I have for this place and the fans, and that hasn't changed."