By Jeff Goodman
Give Kenny Frease credit.
Xavier's big man, who took the hardest hit in the Musketeers brawl with Cincinnati last Saturday, extended the olive branch to Yancy Gates - the guy who sent him to the floor with a vicious right-hand.
It came via a text message.
“I just wanted to let him know that…I mean, I saw a lot of the stuff coming out about how the police and stuff were looking into it and I just wanted him to know that anything that was coming from that wasn’t from my end. I never wanted to press charges against him,” Frease told Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer Wednesday.
“People make mistakes in the heat of battle," he continued. "I’ve made mistakes in my life in emotional situations. I don’t think that’s a reason…especially in a basketball game. Obviously there’s no room for that in a basketball game. But to pursue somebody criminally for something that happens in something that’s that competititve – it seemed immature to me. And I didn’t want him to be punished for something for his whole life because of something that he did in a game that is that emotional.”
Frease got clocked by Gates, then was stomped on by Chiekh Mbodj while he was down on the ground. Both Gates and Mbodj received six-game suspensions for their actions. Frease received seven stitches near his left eye.
There was speculation that prosecutors might seek criminal charges from the fight, but Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said on Wednesday that would not be the case - and praised Frease for his stance. Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski told CBSSports.com he was impressed by Frease's actions.
"I think it was extremely mature on his part," Bobinski said. "I admire it quite honestly. It was a good move on his part."
Frease told the newspaper that Gates thanked him for reaching out and also apologized.
“I think that you can really feel that both sides of the situation know that that’s not what either of our universities are about or NCAA sports are about," Frease told the Enquirer. "This sort of puts a bad name on athletes."
“I think people being able to move past it quickly is something that we need to be able to do, just to protect the names of our schools. They’re both great universities. I think that once we can move past it, everybody can sort of remember the things that made our universities great and not just what happened this weekend.”Photo: Getty Images