Embattled Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller met with the media today to issue a statement on his alleged involvement in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into corruption and bribery relating to agents and recruits.
This week, doubt was cast on ESPN’s report that named Miller and had him telling agent Christian Dawkins to deal with him where money was concerned.
Today, meeting the media, Sean Miller denied those reports strongly, and essentially denied any wrongdoing whatsoever while also disparaging the accuracy of the initial Mark Schlabach report, in detail:
“These statements have damaged me, my family, the university, Deandre Ayton and his incredible family. The only attempted corrections by the original source of the media statements are still inaccurate and completely false.”
Miller’s statement also included a mention that he looks forward to coaching his team this week, which would mean he’s been officially reinstated, and would go along with a report that had at least one University of Arizona regent questioning ESPN’s journalism.
Regent Jay Heiler said his instincts from the start were that the story was “less than solid journalism.”
He told The Arizona Republic on Wednesday he has become more convinced of this as additional criticisms about the story have emerged during the week.
“I found the complete lack of context around the reported content to be frankly unacceptable when measured against journalistic standards that I’ve always believed in,” said Heiler, an attorney who majored in journalism at Arizona State University.
The immediate firestorm and criticisms lodged against Miller “was not warranted based on the story alone,” he added. Heiler’s comments indicate support for Miller from at least one person who approved his contract.
Of course, Miller has now opened himself up even further if he did do something wrong; his denials were so categorical that there’s no wiggle room. But if indeed he hasn’t violated NCAA rules (or federal law), this could end with a suit against ESPN.
ESPN once again proclaimed they were standing by their reporting, noting as much at the end of a news story about Miller’s comments.
ESPN stands by its reporting on Miller and the FBI investigation.
This saga is far from over.