Morgan State owes Todd Bozeman an apology

January 10, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Morgan State owes Todd Bozeman an apology

addressing them in the huddle or on the bench.  That said, I saw Gary Williams be animiated for two decades.  I’ve seen lots of coaches grab their players in an attempt to get his or her attention.

But I know Todd Bozeman well enough to say this: He’s not going to punch one of his players in the face.

And I also know this.  What happened on Saturday at South Carolina State was nothing different than has happened numerous times before with Bozeman and his players, except a stick-in-the-mud school President with his $150 tie and premium parking spot decided to berate the opposing coach after the game.

A source who was at the game on Saturday says Bozeman was respectful afterwards, despite the fact that Cooper, the SC State President, was “basically harrassing” the Morgan State coach after the game as the two teams exchanged handshakes.

“He (Cooper) wouldn’t let it go.  He kept saying, ‘I think the way you treat your players is wrong and I want your athletic director to know about it,’” the source said.  ”Todd told him he’d be happy to visit with him after he had a chance to talk with his players in the locker room and get the bus settled for the trip to Savannah State but the President just kept coming at him, saying, ‘You’re not going to ignore me.  I’m going to get to the bottom of this.’”

The source said Bozeman asked Bastfield in front of the entire team if he felt the coach had struck him in the face or had threatened him in any way and Bastfield said no.

Afterwards, at the urging of the school President, the South Carolina State police met Bastfield and asked him if he wanted to press charges against Bozeman.  Bastfield declined and the bus departed.

Later on Sunday night, Bozeman received a phone call from Kerr and was told to return to Baltimore and not coach Monday’s game at Savannah State.

There was no due process for him.  Just a phone call and an order to return home. The facts weren’t laid out in front of anyone. Bozeman was found guilty of inappropriate behavior when, in fact, no REAL evidence of inappropriate behavior had been discovered.

The Morgan State coach has steadfastly denied punching Bastfield in the face, but the coach has acknowledged the two had a confrontation late in the game.

Coaches and players have confrontations all the time.  The details of the one that occurred on Saturday at South Carolina State are still fuzzy, but no one – no one credible, anyway – is sticking to the story that Todd Bozeman punched one of his players.  It just didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, Bozeman will try to settle the matter with school officials on Wednesday.

But it’s too little, too late.  The right thing to do would have been to do what any other real company would have done.  Keep the situation quiet until all the facts are presented and a judgment can be made on whether or not the employee violated company policy.

What’s likely to happen on Wednesday is this: Morgan State will publicly reprimand Bozeman for his actions on Saturday at South Carolina State and he’ll be reinstated.

What SHOULD happen is much more simple:  Morgan State owes Todd Bozeman an apology.

But the damage has been done.

Bozeman needed his school, his employer and his athletic director to stand behind him in this situation, not offer up a knee-jerk reaction and suspend him — and tarnish a reputation he’s worked hard to rebuild – without having all the facts in front of them.

I’m guessing the whole thing might change Bozeman’s coaching style, which ultimately might be for the best.  But suspending him and making him a front page story around the country was completely unfair to a man who has stood by Morgan State throughout the last six years.

Todd Bozeman deserved better.

And that’s a slam dunk.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Chuck Says:

    Drew,

    Since when is a university president not credible? Bozeman has a history. When another university president calls and complains about a coach with a history what was the school supposed to do? They didn’t fire him. They just removed him from the team until a more thorough investigation was done. (DF: They didn’t have to remove him to investigate it. And Bozeman told them from the beginning he didn’t punch that player. What stock does his employer put in that? Obviously not much. And the University president can’t be too credible — he told people Bozeman punched a player in the face — and he didn’t.)

  2. ravenmaniac Says:

    Why would Cooper say he saw him punch a player in the face for no reason? Would you actually expect his player to admit this and then join his coach on the bus? How do you know he didn’t do it? Were you there? Are you calling Cooper a liar? According to ESPN, “Bozeman said he talked to Bastfield, and he told him he didn’t think he was struck”. Why would he have to ask him if he were punched? If you punched someone would you have to ask that person if you did it? At least it wasn’t some poor woman who ran out of cheesesteaks this time!

  3. Jake Says:

    Bozeman stands by his school until he gets offered a better job, which he hasn’t. for reasons like this. Its hard for the AD from SC State to give the benefit of the doubt when Bozeman acts like a clown on the bench and gets in his players faces. Imagine if the accusations ended up true, and they let him go and coach the next game. The school has a responsibility to act fairly, which they may not have done, but schools are much more concerned these days with public perception, and that goes for all of them. (DF: It’s a shame you basically don’t know what you’re talking about. Bozeman WAS wooed by other schools but re-signed at Morgan State two years ago. Lots of coaches around the country “get in their player’s faces”. Happens every night in countless gyms across America. Public perception? That’s funny. You mean suspending your coach without really having all the facts so that ESPN.com can run THIS on their front page: “Morgan State’s Bozeman suspending after punching a player”. How’s that for perception? Created, of course, by Morgan State, who handled this all wrong from jump street.)

  4. matt Says:

    because the player is going to say that the coach struck him in front of his entire team? or to anyone privately? ehhhhhhh, no. (DF: Shows what you know. Which, of course, is nothing, as far as this situation goes, anyway.)

  5. Will Says:

    This is standard operating procedure now in sports. if you are accused of something like this, you are removed until there is an investigation.

  6. ravenmaniac Says:

    Yup, apology is on the way no doubt…

    In a telephone interview, Bastfield said that he “exaggerated” his reaction to the contact with Bozeman. Bastfield staggered a few feet backwards after contact with Bozeman, who, according to witnesses, yelled at Bastfield, “Get back here!” after he retreated.

    “These people are completely off the charts” with the allegation, Bozeman said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t hit him in the face.”

    But Christopher Johnson, a South Carolina State graduate who was attending the game, said that he and others clearly saw Bozeman strike the player and hear him yell at Bastfield moments later. Johnson said he was sitting in the front row of the upper level of the small gym.

    “The fans all went, ‘Ohhhhhhh’ when it happened,” Johnson said. “It was pretty dramatic.”

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