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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jim Boeheim upset with Andy Katz over Bernie Fine issue

Jim BoeheimJim Boeheim went off on Andy Katz following Syracuse’s loss to UConn Wednesday, calling the ESPN reporter an “idiot” and “disloyal person” while refusing to answer his question at a postgame press conference.

The verbal assault towards Katz seemed unnecessary, excessive, and unprompted. As of Wednesday evening, the reason for Boeheim’s attack was not known, but there was plenty of speculation. We thought Katz may have irked Boeheim by reporting something about James Southerland that was off the record. We also threw out the possibility that Boeheim was upset with Katz over a 2011 article that was critical of the Syracuse program in relation to the Bernie Fine situation. It sounds like neither theory explained why Boeheim was upset with Katz.

Boeheim told The Syracuse Post-Standard that he is still upset with Katz over a Nov. 2011 interview.

“It’s really simple,” Boeheim told The Post-Standard. “I went to New York last year to play in the (NIT Pre-Season Tip-Off) Tournament in November and he (Katz) asked if he could interview me about the tournament. And I said, ‘Yeah, but I can’t talk about the (Bernie Fine) investigation.’

“We got in the room and he put me on camera — there were several witnesses there — and he asked me what I’d told him I couldn’t answer. I kept telling him, ‘I can’t answer that.’ And he asked me, like, 10 times on camera. He never took the camera off me.

“Two or three people in the room were so disgusted they walked out of the room. The producer came over and apologized afterward. And I told Katz right then and there, ‘Don’t talk to me. Do not try to talk to me again.’

“That’s what this is about. It’s about one thing: An interview that was supposed to be about a tournament we were playing in, and not about the (Bernie Fine) case. And he kept asking me about the case over and over and over again. He kept the camera on me, trying to get me to react . . . and I just didn’t.”

Katz told The Post-Standard that he has not talked to Boeheim since the height of the Fine scandal. He told the newspaper that Boeheim hung up on him when he called to ask about Notre Dame leaving the Big East. Katz also told The Post-Standard that his interview with Southerland was on the record, essentially ending any speculation that that was the root of the issue.

Katz responded to Boeheim’s claim that he pushed an issue he agreed not to during the 2011 interview.

“Nothing of the sort took place,” Katz said in response, via an ESPN PR spokesperson. “There was never any agreement not to ask Fine-related questions. In fact, that was ESPN’s first chance to speak with Coach Boeheim after the Fine news broke so of course we would ask him about it. He had just come from a press conference where he addressed it as well. Separately, later in that tournament, he agreed to talk to me on camera for a post-game interview.”

Boeheim admitted that he probably should not have called Katz an “idiot,” so at least he recognized he went too far in that situation. He has the right to dislike Katz, but he should probably at least conduct himself professionally when dealing with the reporter. They each have a job to do, and they each should be able to their work without any namecalling.



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