The aftermath of Saturday’s Elite Eight game between the Florida State Seminoles and Michigan Wolverines created a notable media controversy, as CBS reporter Dana Jacobson asked Seminoles’ head coach Leonard Hamilton why Florida State didn’t foul when Michigan got the ball with 11 seconds left and Hamilton didn’t respond well.
Jacobson first asked “In the final seconds of this game, why didn’t you guys foul?” Hamilton responded with an annoyed “What are you talking about?” Jacobson clarified “Down the stretch, the final seconds, 11 seconds left on the clock” and Hamilton responded with “You think the game came down to the final seconds?” He then said “The game was over” and “With 15 seconds left on the clock, what were we down?” after further questioning from Jacobson.
Hamilton’s behavior here took a lot of deserved criticism, and on Sunday, he released a statement through Florida State’s men’s basketball Twitter account:
From Coach Hamilton pic.twitter.com/Wjy9Ub5JBv
— FSU Men's Hoops (@FSUHoops) March 25, 2018
For context, here’s the original interview:
— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 25, 2018
Hamilton isn’t wrong that it can be difficult to give a level-headed interview after an emotional moment, and it’s perhaps particularly difficult to break down particular moments in a loss immediately afterwards. Still, many coaches and athletes manage to answer questions like this without creating controversy. And while his “I wish I could have done better” is something, as is his recognition that Jacobson was doing her job, it’s far from a full apology.
For what it’s worth, though, Jacobson tweeted Saturday she didn’t have a problem with his comments:
Coach Hamilton spoke to me minutes after an emotional @FSUHoops loss. It was the right question to ask. He showed emotion & I appreciate him talking through it w/me instead of walking off. He was nothing but professional w/me throughout this weekend as I believe I was with them.
— Dana Jacobson (@danajacobson) March 25, 2018
And Jacobson is also right; it would have been much more problematic for Hamilton to walk off here, and while he may have been frustrated with her questions, he at least eventually got close to providing some sort of answer. But his behavior here was still far from ideal for a coach-reporter interaction. And while his statement’s appreciated, especially with his support for Jacobson doing her job and with his admission that he could have done better, it would have been nicer still to see a fuller apology.
Still, at least Hamilton admitted his actions here weren’t ideal, and that’s something.