January 31, 2002

Hill Apologizes for Offensive Words

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Armond Hill, Columbia University’s head men’s basketball coach, officially apologized to the Cornell and Columbia communities after making offensive remarks to a Cornell pep band member. During the Cornell men’s basketball game last Saturday at Newman Arena, Hill called senior trombonist Chad Potocky “a faggot,” in response to heckling from the band member.

In a letter addressed to the communities of Columbia and Cornell Universities, Hill admited his mistakes, calling his remarks “inappropriate,” “thoughtless,” and “offensive.”

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable,” he continued, “and is not representative of me or the way I think or conduct myself on a daily basis.”

The verbal altercation occured after Cornell junior Jacques Vigneault was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. Hill argued the call with the officials as the pep band continued its usual heckling.

Hill alleged that he heard derogatory cheers from members of the band and confronted Potocky, asking him to repeat his remarks. When Potocky refused, Hill said, “That’s what I thought, faggot.”

Potocky has declined to take any legal action. Cornell does not seem to be pursuing the situation further, although it is expected to be a topic of discussion at the Ivy League conference which began Tuesday. Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel has yet to issue an official statement .

This apology comes two days after Hill presented a written apology to the Columbia and Cornell Athletic Departments. According to The Columbia Spectator, Athletic Director John Reeves has accepted Hill’s statement and declared the issue closed.

Archived article by Amanda Angel