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One Final Word On Fan Removal-Gate[UPDATED]

Update: Roy responded to the controversy during his call-in radio show last night. His defense? He did it for the parents who he thought should not have to listen to that sort of thing right behind them at a home game. And he ain't apologizing even if he is wrong, which he implies he might be but he still is not apologizing.

"Am I disappointed in the whole thing? Yeah, I’m disappointed that it happened. I’m disappointed that I even reacted to it. But again, in our own building, I don’t think that parents ought to have to listen to somebody chastising their son. And whether that’s right or wrong, that’s the way I am. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I hate that it happened. I wish that it never happened. Evidently, people have been getting after us all day [on Monday] or getting after me all day. But I tell you what, if that’s the only thing they’ve got to get after me about, I’m a happy young man… If I’m wrong, then that’s good, but I’m not apologizing."

Original post after the jump.

It is a "gate" right? I mean two or more days in the news cycle makes it a gate by law or something.

I am rather amazed at how much attention this has gotten. The comment traffic both here at THF and at Thee Sports Blog where I also wrote about the controversy have been through the roof.  Not Duke game through the roof but a ton of traffic considering it was not even related to anything that actually happened on the court. As I alluded to in the last post, I have found various aspects of the media reaction humorous from the hand wringing over it to speculation as to how Mike Krzyzewski would be treated if he had done the same thing.

After having witnessed this horse beaten to a bloody pulp for three days I think I have finally arrived at what this was all about for Roy. As most folks know, Roy is big on loyalty.  He is a loyal and sentimental fellow and in return he demands much the same from those around him.  This extends to the fans of the Tar Heels, especially those who sit in Dean Dome seats on a regular basis. When that loyalty is not expressed then Roy gets a little irritated. Of late, this irritation has been expressed towards season ticket holders who opt not to attend some of the early season games but still show up for ranked opponents like Michigan St. This has pissed Roy off to no end to the point he mentions it every other game. The reason I bring this up is it is part and parcel to understanding why Roy reacted the way he did. On one hand, Roy may have been upset by the negative catcall but I find it hard to believe a coach who has been in this business going back to the late 1970s has not heard his share of opposing fans in his home arena doing what this guy did. No, what Brian King said was not at issue, it was the fact he was where he was.  Setting aside whether he was supposed to be there or not, when Roy turned around and saw King standing 20 rows up in a seat a UNC fan should be occupying this running vendetta against UNC fans who have been less than fully committed(according to Roy) took over.

Now whether this particular focus of Roy's is good or not is certainly up for debate. However, as it pertains to this incident, it was more about where this guy was sitting and the conclusion Roy reached when he saw an opposing fan sitting in a place where a UNC fan probably should have been. Examining that limited context then I do not find much fault with Roy's position. In reality, there are plenty of passionate UNC fans out there who would dropped about anything to sit in those seats.  In fact, there probably should never be an empty seat in the Dean Dome because there is an overabundance of UNC fans in the area. On top of that, there most certainly should not be an opposing fan in those seats.  Yes, I know people have the right to do with their seats anything they want which might include bringing a fan of the opposing team. The ticket holders certainly pay enough money for their seats which grants them some leeway.  That being said, I think there is also a responsibility to support the team in person and barring that, finding someone who can do it in your stead.

Did Roy handle it correctly? He did not. There are quieter ways to accomplish what he was attempting to do.  It is also bad form for a hall of fame coach to engage a fan. Doing so elevates the latter and brings down the former. In this case, Roy looks like a monarch ordering someone tossed from the palace. This action is also fraught with all sorts of unintended consequences such as copy cats doing the same thing in future games and no telling what kinds of grief when the Heels go on the road, especially for Tar Heel fans who will probably have to really mind their p's and q's when traveling to support the team.

So, what's done is done at this point. It was not the best reaction Roy could have had but Roy also enjoys immense latitude due in part to his success. Speaking of which, if any opposing fans tries to sell you on this idea that they would not want Roy, please call them a moron and a liar. Duke fans are probably the exception to this considering Mike Krzyzewski's accomplishments. Anyone else is selling ocean front property in Arizona. Roy, despite his various quirks and personality flaws is still hands down the best coach in the game right now. You can call him wrong for this incident and others but at the end of the day, his teams and players get the job done on the court while not violating NCAA rules. Since that is the case I can live with moments like these so I can continue to enjoy moments like this.