The case involving Green Bay coach Brian Wardle took some new public turns Tuesday when two of his current players called into a local radio show to defend their coach. Sophomore Keifer Sykes, the team's leading scorer, and junior Alec Brown separately called in to The Maino and Nicks Show on 1440 WNFL in Green Bay.
Brown, currently a fringe NBA prospect, said he believed his two former teammates -- Ryan Bross and Brennan Cougill -- are lying about their allegations toward Wardle. The 33-year-old coach has been accused of verbal/physical mistreatment of his players, ranging from homophobic slurs to public embarrassment, both of which were detailed in a Green Bay Press-Gazette story Monday. Brown said he couldn't recall Wardle every doing anything that would be deemed behavior that was over the line.
"Honestly, I don't agree with the things that are being said," Brown said. "I've been there the longest out of any of the guys and if i had personally seen any of this happening, I wouldn't still be here."
According to Brown, the team had no conversations about problems with coaches, and there was no tenor that something was amiss and/or players were not satisfied with Wardle's practices. He expects Wardle to be absolved.
"The way some players viewed certain situations and the way they can lie about something, it's amazing," he said. "Some of these guys were really close to us."
"It was shocking all this came about," Sykes said, then went on to refer to Wardle with, "I feel like he never did anything to abuse anyone."
The public embarrassment over former walk-on Ryan Bross soiling his pants and enduring training sessions, then walking back through campus with ruined clothes, is a key cog of his claims against the coach. Sykes was around when the alleged incident detailed here happened. He said Bross did soil himself but the context of it was "skewed," claiming he was giving the option to stop and no one was forced to do anything.
"Clearly the guys that are making these allegations are not in the program anymore, so, I guess when you leave they wanna, like, tear it down," Sykes said. "But the truth will come out. In every situation there were 20 people there, and some people writing letters weren't around when anything or those allegations happened."
Wardle has spoken about the incident since the accusations against him came out, but only through statements.
“I can assure you the well-being of my players is foremost in my mind at all times," Wardle told the Press-Gazette on Monday. "I cannot comment on the specific allegations under federal privacy laws. I can say the version of events you are reporting is inaccurate. I have fully cooperated with the independent investigator, as have our players and coaches. I fully expect the eyewitnesses to these allegations you are reporting will contradict the version you are reporting.”
The university continues to operate an independent investigation, and Wardle has not been put on any leave from his coaching duty. Bross went public with his complaints on Monday to the Green Bay Press-Gazette -- and they are grisly. They fall in line with the letter that Bross' mother sent to the school's chancellor, according to the report.
Via the report, here are some of Bross' complaints:
Wardle ridiculed him after he defecated in his pants during a preseason conditioning drill, calling him “a piece of s---” and that “he had never seen such a big p----” and continued to bring up that incident throughout the season. According to Bross, Wardle said: “We literally ran the s--- out of one player” and that “we might need to try it again next year.”
Wardle used the homophobic slur “f-----” and accused Bross of being “a p----” and “a c---” to indicate he was soft, Bross said.
Wardle told Bross he would be a better player if Bross had sex with a girl he was interested in dating, according to Bross. ... Most bothersome to the Brosses, they said, was what happened during an October training session called “boot camp." ... Bross told the coaches that he was feeling ill before the players began an exercise in which they ran up and down hills near campus. He said he had to go to the bathroom.
“Coach Wardle told me to stop being a p---- and to go into the woods,” Bross said. “So I went into the woods and took a crap. I came back and he was like, ‘Are you all done? Are you OK? Are you done being a p---- now, Ryan?' because they thought I was faking it, but I wasn't. So I kept running the hills. I finished one hill. I came back down, and I told them I was not feeling well again, and (Wardle) made me run another hill again because he told me that I was being a baby and that I was letting down the team and I was letting down myself, and that I was letting down everyone."
Bross said it was at that point that he couldn't control his diarrhea and soiled his pants. “I got down to the bottom (of the hill), and Wardle told me I was a piece of s--- and that he had never seen such a big p---- in his life and that I was the biggest piece of s--- he had ever seen,” Bross said.
The details go on and on in the report, including Bross needing to pass by nearly two dozen people on school grounds, who saw him in soiled clothing. If true, it's a pretty embarrassing affair -- and remember, Bross was a walk-on, a guy doing all he could to even be a part of the program.
The complaint also details Wardle using the phrase “piece of s---” directed at Bross "approximately once a week for several months into the season."
Bross said he never spoke out, out of fear of losing his spot on the team. Bross' mother, who wrote the letter of complaint, wasn't made aware of the alleged treatment until months after it occurred.