North Carolina basketball players and managers issued a joint apology on Tuesday after video surfaced over the weekend following its win over Duke revealing that several players partied maskless, leading to the postponement of Monday's game vs. Miami. The video, originally posted to Snapchat and subsequently posted to YouTube by The Daily Tar Heel, shows Tar Heels big men Armando Bacot and Day'Ron Sharpe partying with several individuals in an enclosed space, all of whom were not wearing masks.
The ACC did not explicitly cite the video as reason for the postponement of Monday's game, rather offering up a vague reasoning that concluded the decision was made after a mutual agreement.
"Saturday night, a number of players and managers -- not just the ones shown on the video that was seen -- got together to celebrate our win at Duke," said UNC's players and managers in the issued apology Tuesday. "Our intention was to celebrate privately within our group. Unfortunately, we allowed several friends who are not members of the team to join the gathering. We were inside and not wearing masks, which were mistakes. We apologize for not adhering to the University's and athletic department's guidelines and apologize to Coach Williams and his staff for not stepping forward when he first addressed it with us on Sunday."
UNC coach Roy Williams also issued a statement saying he appreciated the players apologizing and acknowledging they've been "fantastic for more than eight months" in the way they've dealt with the pandemic. "But they realize they did make a mistake, for which they are paying a very significant price," he added.
Stadium's Jeff Goodman first reported the video featuring Bacot and Sharpe partying together without masks, and thus potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 ahead of Monday's game, was indeed the reason for the postponement. The Miami Herald reported the Hurricanes were concerned about possible exposure the UNC players may have had at the party.
"There was a video that was out there with several of their players without masks at a party at 1 a.m. Sunday morning, which is less than 48 hours from our game," Miami coach Jim Larranaga, told The Herald. "Our president (Julio) Frenk is adamant that student-athletes are allowed to compete, but they've got to stay safe, social distance.
"Our guys have done a fantastic job. We have not had a single guy test positive and they were all unanimous that this isn't right. We have been quarantining, hibernating, whatever you want to call it, and we don't want to put ourselves in a position (to get the virus). We came to a decision that it's better to postpone the game."
Saturday evening, its seventh win in its last nine outings. After the game, students flooded Franklin Street against the wishes of UNC officials, culminating with pandemonium in the streets in the midst of the pandemic.
As could’ve been expected, students did not heed North Carolina’s plea to NOT rush Franklin Street pending a Tar Heels victory versus the Blue Devils tonight.— Marilyn Payne (@marilyn_payne) February 7, 2021
Mattress set afire? Yes!
“F Duke,” & “Tar Heels,” chants? Yes!
Masks? Mostly actually, yes!
Social distancing? Uhm. pic.twitter.com/BpiTOy7EB0