University of New Orleans basketball player Travin Thibodeaux posted an open letter Wednesday to apologize for his actions during Tuesday's NCAA tournament game against Mount St. Mary's.
Thibodeaux, who got into an altercation with teammate Christavious Gill during the 67-66 loss, wrote on the Privateers' official website he was sorry for his "erratic behavior":
I am a very competitive and passionate player/person and, tonight, I let my emotions take away from my team's success and integrity. I take full responsibility for my selfish actions and I will accept whatever consequences my coaches and university's administration choose to give me.
I regret this as one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my life. I am extremely sorry to disgrace my family, my team, and university. I will take this moment as a major learning experience and work on becoming a better man/teammate.
New Orleans head coach Mark Slessinger stepped in to diffuse the situation after Thibodeaux appeared to choke his teammate following a second-half disagreement. ESPN.com noted the junior forward was benched and didn't return to the game after the incident.
Thibodeaux mentioned Gill, a senior guard, directly in the open letter.
"To one of my closest friends on the team throughout my three years here, Christavious, I apologize and should've checked myself before I reacted," Thibodeaux wrote. "Even though that happened, I still love you with all my heart and will always have your back through whatever situation."
He concluded: "I promise to make a commitment to changing for the better of my team. It has been an honor to battle this season with you group of guys. I know it may be hard to forgive me now, but I love each and every one of you guys forever no matter what!"
Sharief Ishaq of WDSU passed along further reaction from Slessinger after the team returned home:
Sharief Ishaq @ShariefWDSU
@Privateers_MBB returned back home to nola after losing to the Mount. @CoachSless talked about the scuffle between Gill & Thibodeaux. @wdsu https://t.co/r2uwvziAo62017-3-15 23:44:58
Thibodeaux finished the contest, which was part of the First Four round of March Madness, with 11 points in 22 minutes. Gill tallied eight points and four steals in 35 minutes.
New Orleans, which trailed by as much as nine in the second half, made a late surge, but Mount St. Mary's held on for the one-point victory. The Mountaineers advance to face Villanova, the NCAA tournament's top overall seed, in the first round Thursday.