When a heckler taunted his team late in its 77-51 loss at Louisville on Tuesday night, Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings took offense.
TV cameras caught him responding to the fan by making an apparent reference to Louisville’s pay-to-play scandal.
— Whitney Harding (@WHAS11Whitney) January 3, 2018
Stallings’ comment is an allusion to Louisville’s involvement in the FBI investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball.
Federal law enforcement has alleged that a Louisville coach and Adidas executives conspired to funnel $100,000 to the family of an unnamed recruit last summer in return for his commitment to the Cardinals. That player has since been identified as McDonald’s All-American Brian Bowen, who chose Louisville over a handful of other suitors last June.
Asked to explain his comment after the game, Stallings told reporters in Louisville, “Somebody said something bad about my players.”
“Probably said the wrong thing, but I’m not going to let people talk crap about my players,” Stallings added. “We’re down, the game’s over with, you don’t need to insult kids that are out there trying to fight hard and do their best. Like I said, I probably should have chosen some different words, but I’m not going to let people take shots at our players.”
Stallings would not elaborate on what the fan said to incite him. He also did not answer when asked if the fan had been heckling him or his team throughout the game.
“That’s enough,” Stallings said. “That’s enough.”
Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings explains why he responded to a heckling fan: “At least we don't pay our players $100,000.” https://t.co/ppwUtjOV8R
— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) January 3, 2018
Stallings’ comments are indicative of the vitriol that Louisville is likely to face this season in the wake of its latest scandal. Purdue students already trolled the Cardinals by wearing “FBI” T-shirts during their game in West Lafayette in late November.
The difference here is that it was an opposing coach doing the taunting rather than an opposing student section — a coach of a seven-loss team that was down 25 points no less.
At least Stallings is undoubtedly right about one thing. Pittsburgh probably isn’t paying any of its players $100,000.
As much as the Panthers are struggling, that would be quite a ripoff.
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