Randy Smith: Time For A Retraction

Sunday, April 14, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Okay. I’ve read all your emails, and I have thought long and hard about it all weekend. The fact that words that I wrote caused so much anger, and  discontent among UConn basketball fans, has forced me to say, I’m sorry.

Last week in my column in the sports section of the chattanoogan.com, I based my blog, entitled,” Congratulations Geno: But Think Again”, on a quote from Lady Huskies Coach Geno Auriemma in an Associated Press article recapping Tuesday night’s Women’s National Championship game between UConn and Louisville. Coach Auriemma was quoted as saying, “The fact that I tied Pat Summitt’s record, puts you in the category of the greatest womens’ basketball  coach of all time.” To me, those words, just as they were presented in the article, still sound a bit arrogant. Even some of the upset Lady Husky fans admitted that their coach had a reputation for being cocky. But, my big mistake was not investigating further Geno’s complete press conference. After I had read the entire transcript, I realized that I had made a huge mistake.

Coach Auriemma was very cordial and flattering in his praise of Tennessee Lady Vols coaching legend Pat Summitt. He did say the words I blasted him for saying in the above mentioned quote, but they were certainly taken out of context. So again, I apologize to Coach Auriemma and all UConn fans for jumping to a  very big, and very wrong conclusion.

I do defend myself on one very big issue that about one-third of the upset UConn fans mentioned. My use of the term, “whop-sided” or “wop-sided” was in absolutely no way an ethnic slur at Italian-Americans. “Wop-sided” is a term that millions of other Southerners, including myself, have used for many years to describe a one-sided blow-out. One disgruntled fan questioned, “Don’t you mean lop-sided?” Perhaps I did, but in the South, most of us have always referred to it as “wop-sided.” For those of you who took offense, again I apologize. Believe me when I say this; there is not a prejudiced or biased bone in my body.

Finally, the email that I read last was the one that helped me make up my mind to retract my earlier column. It was written by Alysa Auriemma, the daughter of the Lady Huskies’ coach.  Alysa wrote a very powerful letter to me in defense of her dad. In contrast to some of the emails I received in the past few days, there were no curse words…..no threats……no poisonous put-downs of Southerners and their “ignorant” ways or thoughts.  After I finish writing this column, I plan to write her back and thank her for the classy way she defended her father.

There….I’ve said it. I’m sorry, and I truly am sorry for not being  the kind of journalist that I have been for the last 43 years.  I am also sorry for this fact; that there is still so much animosity and hatred between Tennessee and UConn fans. Today, I will have a new-found respect for Coach Auriemma and his Lady Huskies!

rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


CCS Tops Hixson 6-1

Seniors Rachel Farlett and Hannah Henry led a CCS Lady Charger onslaught Monday night in their 6-1 win over Hixson. Farlett had three goals and Henry had two. Meg Ligon, Leah Hoffman, Eden Brock and Kyra Duble each had assists. CCS led 5-1 at the half.   CCS outshot Hixson 15-12.  Avery Boulware had three saves for CCS and Marisa Lewis had one.  ... (click for more)

Monday Prep Volleyball Round up

Soddy-Daisy beat GPS 3-0.  Soddy-Daisy won 25-15, 26-24 and 25-23 Soddy-Daisy's Chloe Mitchell earned her 3000th career assist in the third set.  Soddy is 33-16 overall and GPS is 17-20.      Soddy-Daisy Stats:  Chloe Mitchell  23 assists  2 kills  1 ace  13 digs Gracie Ratledge  6 kills   2 blocks ... (click for more)

Witnesses In 17-Year-Old Murder Case Say They Saw Hollingsworth Threaten, Mistreat Wife

Two potential witnesses in a 17-year-old murder testified Monday that they saw Adolphus Lebron Hollingsworth threaten and mistreat his wife Vicky before she disappeared in 1997. Hollingsworth, who is under $200,000 bond, is set for trial on Nov. 4. Orville Hughes said he lived around the corner from Vicky when he was on Chamberlain Avenue and they were on Duncan Avenue. ... (click for more)

Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He Can Never Go Home

When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sparked top-ranked Florida State to a 56-41 comeback over N.C. State last Saturday, you would have thought the world had forgotten and virtually excused his vulgar rant from the week before. His inexcusable mid-week antics kept him sidelined during the Clemson game and brought down the nation’s scorn but less than a week later he was ... (click for more)