Nebraska's Pelini apologizes for disparaging remarks

Not only is Nebraska coach Bo Pelini dealing with fallout from a tough 41-21 loss to UCLA that saw the Huskers blow a 21-3 lead, he now is at the center of firestorm surrounding an audio recording from 2011 that was posted today by the website Deadspin.com, which said it obtained the 102-second recording from a tipster.

The recording was done on Oct. 8, 2011, after Nebraska mounted a 21-point comeback in a 34-27 win against Ohio State. The recording reveals an unvarnished Pelini, who uses profane language and makes disparaging remarks about the Nebraska fans.

No doubt, all coaches get frustrated from time to time, and many use salty language. It’s not an excuse, but it’s a fact. And many similar things probably are said behind closed doors in many coaching offices across the country about the media, too. Pelini is a fiery personality in a profession filled with them.

But Pelini’s biggest sin here is his disparaging remarks about the Cornhusker fans, who are among the most rabid and loyal in the nation. I wonder if he ever will be able to curry the fans’ favor again after the revelation of this audio tape. It’s gonna be difficult. In the audio recording, Pelini seemed to not know he was being recorded.

This evening, Pelini, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Pearlman and school athletic director Shawn Eichorst all issued statements regarding the recording.

Here is Pelini’s statement, as it was posted on Huskers.com:

“I want to sincerely apologize for my comments from two years ago which became public today. I take full responsibility for these comments. They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great University and fan base. I again apologize to anyone whom I have offended.”

Here is Perlman’s statement:

“I am aware of the publication of Coach Pelini’s comments, I am disappointed and in discussions with Shawn Eichorst about addressing the issue.”

Here is Eichorst’s statement:

“I am disheartened and disappointed by the 2011 comments published today attributed to Coach Pelini about our dedicated and passionate fans and supporters. I have spoken with Chancellor Perlman and I have addressed the situation with Bo and expressed our deep concern.”

Earlier Monday, Pelini responded to criticism from former Huskers quarterback Tommie Frazier, who is unhappy with the direction of the team’s defense.

Pelini is 51-21 in six-plus seasons as the Huskers coach. In 2009, he signed a contract extension through the 2014 season. The Huskers are 2-1 this season and play host to South Dakota State on Saturday. Before the season, some felt Nebraska was the favorite in the Legends Division. Read more here.

Among their various media commitments, the Big Ten coaches are part of a Tuesday morning teleconference with reporters the week their teams play games. Nebraska faces South Dakota State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go.

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About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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3 Comments

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huskerfanbb on 9/16/2013 @ 10:26pm EDT Said:

If Pelini didn’t like the fans two years ago after a comeback WIN, he’s certainly not going to like them this week.
Want the fans to be on your “side”? Then WIN.

shookwriter27 on 9/17/2013 @ 10:23am EDT Said:

Coaches always need to be about careful about what they.say.

Roy Coffman on 9/17/2013 @ 6:40pm EDT Said:

If that was made after Saturday’s game with UCLA then I’m sure we would have something further to discuss. However this was 2, I repeat 2 years ago. I have witnessed Coach Pelini show class, decorum, and demeanor on many occasions since that time. I have watched him mature into his role as head coach since that time. I support Coach Pelini and the team and the university and the entire program. I am disgusted by the kneejerk overreaction of the hot heads,(Of which I’m fairly certain are thankful they haven’t been recorded in a private setting venting frustration, how embarrassing for them calling a kettle black),of a single game that truly in the grand scheme of things has absolutely no bearing on the complete outcome of our season. Our season is still to come. Conference play is fast approaching but is not here yet and we still have every game in front of us that matters. Playing and winning a conference championship then winning our bowl game matters. This season is not over it has barely begun. I will not stand idly by and allow hypocrites to absolutely derail our program by casting a dark cloud of negativity and sensationalistic journalism. Thank you BTN for publishing complete texts of twitter feeds and not just a single line when read out of context creates a sensational headline. I ask all of you calling for heads to roll… What do you think your actions will accomplish first, absolutely derailing this team by creating a mountain out of a molehill ongoing season long distraction culminating in a probable losing season, or absolutely derailing our recruiting chances on any top caliber athletes by creating a mountain out of a molehill season long distraction with uncertainty at coaching positions or program direction???? I seriously want to know!!!! Which of these two questions will your actions bring to fruition first??? If you truly are a smart fan as I believe most of us are or can be when needed to be, you will realize this for what it is… a blatant attack on not just Coach Bo but a blatant attack on our whole program, our University and on Husker Nation.