Yancy Gates is eager to move on from his role in the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl last weekend.
So is Kenny Frease, the guy Gates slugged.
Xavier’s senior center, who caught a right hand from Gates and was stomped by Chiekh Mbodj while on the ground, suffered a substantial cut near his left eye that required seven stitches. (Prosecutors declined to pursue charges against Gates or any of the other players.)
But he says he’s not holding a grudge. Frease texted Gates several times over the last couple days, all in the name of helping rebuild the image of the programs and the players involved in the ugly incident.
“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 said Wednesday at Cintas Center.
“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 competitive – 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.”
That’s no small thing from Frease. Give the big guy credit for reaching out and for trying to move on. No doubt he’s trying to focus on the rest of Xavier’s season, and with good reason. The Musketeers are one of nine unbeaten teams remaining.
That’s worth thinking big picture.
- Postgame player comments reopens debate on athlete free speech
- Tearful Gates apologizes, ready to accept ‘punishment’
- Crosstown Brawl could re-shape Cincinnati, Xavier programs
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