At around 6 p.m. on Thursday, star WVU quarterback Patrick White released the following statement through the university, in response to his surprising and incendiary comments at Big East media day on Tuesday, in which he implicitly accused WVU baseball coach Greg Van Zant of being a racist and explicitly stated that he is a subpar coach:
"Thinking back on my recent comments at Big East media day, I believe that I may have overstated my feelings on college baseball and the WVU baseball program. I have not played collegiate baseball in the past because I have concentrated on football and building on our success with my football family.
I am sorry my comments have caused so many distractions. I am looking forward to putting this behind me and getting on the practice field with my teammates on Saturday."
Now, I will translate White's statement sentence-by-sentence and explain what it means:
What White said: "Thinking back on my recent comments at Big East media day, I believe that I may have overstated my feelings on college baseball and the WVU baseball program."
What White meant: "I will not retract the spirit of my comments -- that Greg Van Zant may be a racist and is a bad coach -- and I have told the university I will not retract or apologize for them. Because I am the most important player on the football team, and because the university is promoting me for the Heisman, and knows that my happiness is the key element, not only to a successful season but also to the success of Coach Bill Stewart, hired on an emotional whim, I have the political clout to tell the university I will not retract or apologize for my comments.
However, for the sake of comedy, I will let the university say that I may have overstated -- note, "may" have overstated -- my feelings. I repeat: I do not deny or disavow my feelings. What I am basically saying here is that the university is upset that I called their baseball coach a racist and this is closest thing to an apology I will allow my name to be attached to."
What White said: "I have not played collegiate baseball in the past because I have concentrated on football and building on our success with my football family."
What White meant: "I have been told by the university that they must show some support for Van Zant so as to not appear weak and run roughshod over by a student-athlete. So I must make it clear that I have decided not to play baseball not because I think the coach is a racist and a bad coach but because I wanted to concentrate on football.
However, you should note that Van Zant is mentioned nowhere in this statement by name and the university has not released a separate statement backing up their coach who, if he is smart, is already starting to circulate his resume because his days here are clearly numbered. Because this message has been implied to me by the university and because I believe Van Zant should not be coaching at WVU, I will allow this statement to be attached to my name as it works toward his ouster.
I generally have had good experiences here at WVU, enough so that I have encouraged my younger brother to attend school here, so I will allow my name to be attached to the phrase 'football family,' again, in the spirit of comedy."
What White said: "I am sorry my comments have caused so many distractions."
What White meant: "I want everyone reading this statement to realize that this is the screaming, flashing red sentence contained herein and the ultimate expression of my power and evaluation of the situation: I am not apologizing for what I said. I am apologizing for the distraction it caused.
I believe I am right, the university agrees to such an extent that they knew they did not have the power to force me to apologize for my comments. Had they tried, they know I would have quit the team or caused a major disruption, sinking the season and the new coach.
What White said: "I am looking forward to putting this behind me and getting on the practice field with my teammates on Saturday."
What White meant: "I will not answer any more questions on this topic. I would, however, encourage the university to investigate Van Zant's record and for reporters to speak to former players."