USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian issued an apology Sunday for his inappropriate behavior at this weekend's Salute to Troy event, the school's yearly introduction of the team to major donors.
"I sincerely apologize to my players and staff and to our fans for my behavior and my inappropriate language at our kickoff event Saturday night," Sarkisian said in a statement. "I have a responsibility to all of them, and I let them down. Pat Haden talked to me after the event about my actions, and I assured him this will not happen again."
The coach provided more explanation for his actions on Aug. 25, saying "the moral of the story is if you mix meds with alcohol, you say things or do things you regret," according to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated.
"The way I acted was irresponsible," Sarkisian continued, per ESPN's Brett McMurphy. "There are things we’re going to work on for me, moving forward." McMurphy added the coach planned to enter treatment for his drinking.
According to accounts of the event on Twitter, many of which have been rounded up by Lost Lettermen here (contains NSFW language), Sarkisian was allegedly drunk during his speech. He said Oregon, Notre Dame and Arizona State all "suck" and used profanity during team introductions. Pacific Takes provided leaked video on Twitter:
After being pulled aside by USC officials, Sarkisian was allegedly removed from the event as team assistants finished the ceremony.
"I met with Coach Sarkisian, and I expressed my disappointment in the way he represented himself and the university at our Salute to Troy event," Haden said in a statement. "While the details of our conversation will remain between us, I am confident he heard my message loud and clear."
Sarkisian, heading into his second season as Trojans head coach, went 9-4 in 2014. The program is expected to make a major leap this season, with USC ranked No. 8 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 and No. 10 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll.
As Ron Higgins of NOLA.com noted, one of the reasons Sarkisian got the USC job two years ago over interim head coach Ed Orgeron was Haden's faith in how Sarkisian would deal with alumni. Saturday night's embarrassment indicates everyone, no matter how polished, has an off day every now and then.
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