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What Dawn Staley said on women’s basketball, race and the national media
“The truth about our team? That's a good question. We're not bar fighters. We're not thugs. We're not monkeys. We're not street fighters.”
DALLAS — Dawn Staley was asked after South Carolina’s 77-73 upset loss to Iowa on Friday in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament the following question:
“A lot of times, other coaches, your colleagues have sat in that spot and talked about you all being bullies. What's the truth about your team?”
Staley answered with the following 3-minute response, which is worth a read, and worth a listen:
“The truth about our team? That's a good question. We're not bar fighters. We're not thugs. We're not monkeys. We're not street fighters.
“This team exemplifies how you need to approach basketball on the court and off the court. And I do think that that's sometimes brought into the game, and it hurts. And I do think that some of — I'm going to say it because I said I was going to say it whether we lost or whether we won: Some of the people in the media, when you're gathering in public, you're saying things about our team, and you're being heard, and it's being brought back to me.
“And these are the people that write nationally for our sport. So you cannot like our team and you cannot like me. But when you say things that you probably should be saying in your home on the phone or texting out in public and you're being heard, and you are a national writer for our sport, it just confirms what we already know. So watch what you say when you're in public and you're talking about my team in particular.
“Just watch what you say about our team because it's wrong. You've got young lives who are really — if you really knew them, if you really knew them, like you really want to know other players that represent this game, you would think differently. So don't judge us by the color of our skin. Judge us by how we approach the game. And you may not like how we play the game, you may not like it, that's the way we play. That's the way I coach. I'm not changing. We found success in it, and maybe some days like today, we end up on the losing side of the stick.
“But guess what? We live to see another day. We live to see the comeback next year and try to do this again because I'm not changing. I'm not changing, but I hear you. I hear you. I hear you because I do have friends in the media. Whether you believe it or not, I do have some friends in the media. So those of you who were at whatever event you were at that was nearby this arena yesterday, you were heard. You were overheard talking about our team.”
Iowa snapped the Gamecocks’ winning streak at 42 games. Staley was complimentary to Lisa Bluder’s game plan, and the Hawkeyes:
“I'm a sore loser, but I'm a gracious loser. I'm going to give credit where credit is due. Iowa had a terrific game plan, and we didn't get it done. There were opportunities — there were three turnovers we had in a row that were somewhat of a game changer for us that, if we had them back, we could probably open up a lead that would have put us over the top. But it wasn't in the cards.”