Bielema: Comments Were ‘Unintentionally Hurtful’


FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has issued a statement regarding his comments from Searcy on Thursday night. Below is Bielema’s statement:

“It was brought to my attention that remarks I made yesterday evening while discussing a proposed rule change were unintentionally hurtful. I am very passionate, as we all are, about the serious nature of protecting the well-being of student-athletes, and earlier today I was interviewed by SI.com writer Andy Staples to explain my stance on the proposed rule. In my press conference last night, I referenced information about the tragic loss of a life of a student-athlete. My comments were intended to bring awareness to player safety and instead they have caused unintended hurt. As a head coach who works with young individuals every day, the passing of Ted Agu is a reminder to us all how short and precious life is. I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Agu family, Coach Sonny Dykes and to the University of California family.”

Bielema’s statement came a few minutes after Cal atheltic director Sandy Barbour issued a statement expressing her disappointment in Bielema’s comments. Barbour said via Twitter:

“Bret Bielema’s comments about our Ted Agu are misinformed, ill-advised and beyond insensitive … Using the tragic loss of one of our student athletes as a platform to further a personal agenda in a public setting is beyond inappropriate.”

Agu died Feb. 7 after a team training run. A memorial service was held in his honor earlier today.

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau