COLUMBIA, Mo. — “I’m responsible.”
Those were the words spoken by Missouri Football Coach Gary Pinkel in his first public appearance following his DWI arrest on Nov. 16.
Five days after Pinkel was arrested, he held a news conference from the office of his attorney in Columbia, Mo., and gave his first formal statement.
“I’ve failed miserably, and I want to begin to earn everyone’s trust and respect back,” he said. “This will never happen again.”
Pinkel also apologized for the distraction he created for his team just days before their game against Texas Tech the following Saturday. Pinkel said he watched the game with friends at his condo in the Ozarks and described it as “gut-wrenching.” But Pinkel said he was pleased with their win in the final 30 seconds.
Pinkel said he’s never hurt people the way his actions on Nov. 16 hurt his team, family and university. Pinkel said it’s the most devastating thing he’s ever been through.
“I can’t ever remember once ever hurting my family, my friends, any team I’ve been associated with … ever hurting anybody,” he said. “This is the most devastating thing I’ve ever had to deal with.”
Though clearly in the wrong, Pinkel is getting a second chance. And for that he’s grateful.
“The support I’ve got from email, texts, phone calls have been phenomenal, beyond anything I could ever imagine,” he said. “I also understand people who are less forgiving. What I did really hurt this university.”
In the news conference Pinkel said multiple times he plans on gaining back the trust and respect of his team by not making bad decisions.
Though Pinkel said he agrees with the punishment given to him, Pinkel said he does not believe he has a drinking problem and will not seek treatment. Pinkel also said he did not watch the dash cam video of his arrest.
Pinkel’s first opportunity to speak with his team following his arrest will be on Thanksgiving day.