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.