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DAMAGE CONTROL: Alford Apologizes About Pierre Pierce

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Since UCLA hired former Iowa men’s basketball coach Steve Alford, most of the talk has revolved around how poorly he handled a question from a reporter about the Pierre Pierce scandal.

Alford took no responsibility, voiced no regrets, and said he followed University of Iowa orders. It’s been a public relations disaster for Alford.

Thursday, Alford released the following statement about the incident with Peirce:

“At that time, I instinctively and mistakenly came to his defense before knowing all the facts. I wanted to believe (Pierce) was innocent, and in response to a media question, I publicly proclaimed his innocence before the legal system had run its course.  This was inappropriate, insensitive and hurtful, especially to the young female victim involved, and I apologize for that. I have learned and grown from that experience and now understand that such proclamations can contribute to an atmosphere in which similar crimes go unreported and victims are not taken seriously.”

Police arrested Pierce twice for assaulting women. Alford allowed pierce back on the team after he pleaded guilty the first time.

Pierce’s second arrest at Iowa was the beginning of the end for Alford. That and one NCAA tourney win in eight seasons chased Alford to New Mexico in 2007.