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PART I: Listen to Audio (5:36)
PART II: Listen to Audio (3:08)
What did you learn about yourself having to sit out these last four games?
“That I can’t watch football – I’ve got to be out there playing. It was so frustrating. I was kicking it with some people, and they were like, ‘Man, you’ve got to get out.’ I’m calling out plays and all of this other stuff and they were like, ‘We can’t watch the game with you.’ But it was tough.
“My whole situation, I just want to take this time to really apologize to the university and all of our fans for putting myself and the program in this position. But if you guys really want to know what happened, me and Kendric [Burney] went out to California. We stayed with a former player. When we had hotels, all we had was cash, so the guy swiped his card and we paid him back immediately and that was it. And they figured that was a violation, so I had to sit four games.”
Does it make this process more frustrating feeling like you didn’t do anything wrong?
“It really was the first week, but they’ve got a job to do. I feel like them making me sit those four games made me really hungry and I feel like I’ve got that fire back that I had my freshman year when I was out there ballin’ and stickin’ people, so I feel like that’s going to continue. I’ve got to thank them for that. I just try to find a positive in all of this.”
I missed the first part of your explanation -- can you repeat what happened?
“I went out to California, me and Kendric, and we stayed with Omar Brown. And instead of me swiping my card, he swiped his card for the hotel and we paid him cash at that time. So they deemed that as a violation and that’s why [the release] says $1500 and I only had to pay back $400. That $400 is from him taxiing us from the airport to his house and to our hotels. Me and my girlfriend, when we went at the time, we stayed at his house for two nights, so that’s where all of that money that I have to pay back comes from.”
So if you had swiped the card, this might not have happened?
At what point did you realize that the NCAA thought this was a problem?
“To be honest, I really didn’t think it was going to be a big issue because we had paid the money. The line of questioning that they asked me was “Who paid for the trip?” Well, I paid for the trip. K.B. and I paid for the trip together. That was the line of questioning. So once we revealed certain details, for instance, when I stayed with my girlfriend at that time for two nights, they felt like that was a violation and stuff like that. That was the kind of stuff that they got me on. And I felt like me and Omar had had a relationship for four years, so I thought it was a big brother, little brother type of thing. I would have done the same thing. I won’t now, but I would have done the same thing if I was in his position. But they said it was a violation and I understand that, so I manned up and served what I had to serve.”
When were those trips?
“Two years ago. One was two years ago and the one with my girlfriend was this past spring.”
In the offseason?
“Offseason, during the spring.”
So what did you do to get through the suspension, because it must have been hard to watch –
“It just reinforced my faith. I stayed prayed up the whole time. Once I saw the other guys were really struggling through it, it kind of took me out of myself and put me into helping everybody else out. Also, once I found out I wasn’t playing in the LSU game, my best friend that I grew up with, his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and ended up dying four days later. So that threw everything out of the loop for me. I looked at football and it’s just a game, and I had to be there for my best friend, so that’s what happened.”
What have you learned about the NCAA process and NCAA rules out of all of this? Were there just a lot of things that you guys didn’t know?
“I don’t really want to talk about that.”