Dec 12, 2011, 4:48 PM EDT
Yancy Gates didn’t start the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl on Saturday, but the Bearcats center was the man who inflicted the most damage — to the face of Xavier senior Kenny Frease and to the reputations of his school and himself.
And for that, Gates, a Cincinnati senior who grew up The Queen City, apologized Monday, eventually breaking down into tears.
“My actions were just not what I’m about as a person, as an athlete,” he said. “I’m sorry for the embarrassment I put on myself, the University of Cincinnati and the city of Cincinnati. That’s not what we’re about. Now people all over the country just now hearing about Cincinnati, that’s all they know it for. That’s embarrassing. I just want to move forward and do whatever I can to make up for it.”
Gates spoke at a press conference that also included coach Mick Cronin and the other Bearcats suspended for their roles in the brawl, Octavius Ellis, Ge’Lawn Guyn and Cheikh Mbodj. Cronin and Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock offered explanations for the length of the various suspensions and why they settled on this and not dismissals , a move many had called for and expected.
That fact wasn’t lost on Gates.
“It could have been over for me,” Gates said. “I was worried about the rest of the teammates in the locker room; if I was to be dismissed for the rest of the season, that’s not only hurting me, that’s hurting the other guys in the locker room. I was a little scared that it might have been over. It might have been my last game in a Cincinnati jersey.”
Instead, he’ll miss the next six games and also – according to Cronin – have to do some community outreach and do his best to rebuild the school’s image and his image as best he can. If not, his Cincinnati career may be over. (He also may have to deal with criminal charges.)
“I don’t know about the environment. I can take responsibility for my actions,” Gates said. “I should have grabbed the freshmen instead of going out there throwing punches. Some people are going to say it’s fair; some people are going to say it’s unfair. That’s not up for me to decide. All I can do is take my punishment.”
- Crosstown Brawl could re-shape Cincinnati, Xavier programs
- Teams hand out suspensions from brawl
- Video: Cronin says ‘zero excuse’ for incident
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
- Coach K: ACC will be ‘best conference in the history of the game’ 1
- Bringing in ex-Gator Cody Larson worth the risk South Dakota State 0
- FBI: San Diego point-shaving scandal netted ‘more than $120,000′ 2
- Pressure mounting on Texas head coach Rick Barnes? 0
- Former Memphis forward Tarik Black will spend senior year at Kansas 2
- John Calipari: ‘We’re chasing perfection’ (14)
- Report: Baylor coach told Griner not to talk about her sexuality (13)
- Report: Kevin Stallings blocks Sheldon Jeter’s transfer to Pitt (4)
- The Big Ten is setting records for their revenue (3)
- Duke signee Semi Ojeleye named Parade Magazine Player of the Year (3)
- Lochte says Phelps will return soon
- CSN: Francona returns to Boston | Legacy?
- Tebow fact: He reminds Chuck Norris of Chuck Norris
- LeBron stuns Pacers with OT winner in Game 1
- HBT: Astros vendor fired after taking food into bathroom
- PHT: Avs name Hall of Famer Roy as head coach
- Pens overwhelm Sens, take 3-1 series lead