Many Louisville fans were up in arms Saturday over comments that former college hoops coach turned ACC Network analyst Dave Odom made during the Cardinals' win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
When Deng Adel went down in obvious pain during the first half of the game, Odom joked that Adel -- whose shot had been blocked on the previous play -- had just "had his feelings hurt." Adel struggled to make it off the court and back to the locker room on his own volition, and replay showed he had been kneed hard in the head by a Georgia Tech player. The hit was referred to as "a glancing blow" by Odom.
Now Odom has released a statement through Raycom Sports apologizing for the comments ... sort of.
In describing the play, apparently, I left the impression that I was making light of the incident and that it was not of a serious nature. I sincerely apologize to Deng, his family, the University of Louisville, and fans everywhere if they felt I was not being sensitive to Deng's injury. Truthfully, I was trying to convey 'hope' to everyone that Deng's injury, while potentially serious, would not keep him from returning to the court once he went through the prescribed medical protocol for head injuries.
Look, I wasn't offended enough by Odom's comments to think that he needed to issue a public apology or anything, I just thought he was a bad announcer who made a bad comment. That's not really anything new. But if you're going to issue an apology statement, at least apologize.
Saying "I'm sorry if what I said made you think ..." is not apologizing. It's essentially saying "I think this is bullshit, but the people who pay me told me I need to do this." And you were "trying to convey hope?" That's one of the most ridiculous explanations I've ever heard ... about anything.
In the end, Odom's statement made him look worse than the actual in-game comments that he made did. But whatever, you don't win three NIT championships by not being the 65th (or 69th) best at something.
Raycom Sports also made its own statement on the matter:
We realize the seriousness of any injury. When Dave made the initial statement, he didn't understand why Deng was down. While he said that he was hurt, we agree he shouldn't have commented on the blocked shots. When our announcers saw what had actually happened during the replay, Dave talked about being in a time when 'we are very cautious about a blow to the head' and (play-by-play announcer Tom Werme) stated, 'as we should be.' And Dave said, 'Absolutely.' He tried not to raise too much concern before getting the official word by saying, 'I think he's going to be OK.'
The announcers came back later in the game and updated viewers that Deng was being evaluated and would not return. Dave said, 'It's a big loss for Louisville. (He is) so important on both ends of the court, but they're smart in keeping him out.' They also said toward the end of the game, 'We extend well-wishes to Deng Adel, who had to leave the game after an inadvertent knee to the head, out with a concussion and did not return. But hopefully his medical prospects will improve for Coach Pitino and the Cardinals.'
We realize that Dave's initial comments seem insensitive to the injury, but we have known him for over 40 years as a respected coach and teacher. He has a deep appreciation for the game.
Just give us Don Russell and Robbie Valentine back and we'll call this whole thing even.