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March 29, 1998

Brinton Johnsen

Rick Majerus


CHRIS PLONSKY: Britton will be here in just a minute. If you could all take your seats, we will make this very quick. If I could have your attention, please. Coach Majerus has kindly arranged for this subject to be dealt with at this time, and this will not be dealt with at any other time with regard to this individual athlete and Coach. Britton will make a statement followed by a statement from Coach, and that will end this particular interview session. So, Britton --

COACH MAJERUS: I have simply asked Britton what happened and I want him to tell you, and maybe the language is a little graphic, but I think I would like him to speak the exact truth from his heart.

BRITTON JOHNSEN: Well, just to start out with, before the game started, Coach told us to beat this team we have to play a physical game. I went out and was throwing my body around on Ndiaye, and you know, that's the game of basketball. We were getting really competitive and our bodies were clashing into each other. He slapped me across the face at first, and I kind of ran by. And he told me he was going to kick my "F'n A" and all this. And it kept happening and happening. And the only words that came out of my mouth, I said, "Look, I'm 100 pounds lighter than you and I'm kicking your butt." And he spit at me. I never called anyone the "N" word. I never did. It is a joke that this is happening. I'm a freshman and this is, like, you know, blocking some of our success and happiness. It shouldn't even have been an issue. It did not happen, you know. That's it.


COACH MAJERUS: You can go. I'm only going to say this. No one has more respect for Dean Smith, Guthridge and North Carolina program than me. And I went to visit them. I am friends with those people. I know what Dean Smith did at those lunch counters and buses. I tell you what, I've been in more civil rights marches than probably most of you, with my father. I stand by this boy's statement 100 percent. I know this boy's family. I know his character. I know his older brother who played for me and I know this boy. And I think that it would detract from the great program that Carolina has, the class and dignity in which they conduct their program, the person and the man that are Guthridge and Dean Smith, and I think this is really an unfortunate incident. This boy is very upset about this. But rather than have to address this with 200 people or some spector of racism be cast over him the rest of his life, he has spoken to you what he believes. I stand behind that statement. And I'm very sorry that it had to come into one of the nicest events that anyone could be a part of. I don't want this to cast a pallor over the tournament or over these two guys' lives. So that's it. I don't have anything else to say about it. I think we have tried to be very fair and I hope that you would respect the fact that he's 19 years old, and believe me, I mean, I stand behind him 100 percent. If in fact that happened, I will resign.

CHRIS PLONSKY: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts....

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