"Yuri had been on our campus a couple of times, and I had the opportunity to get to know him" before the Twitter controversy broke, Embree said, adding, "I understand he made a mistake, but I don't think that's a reason to bury a kid."I told him I believe part of my responsibility sitting here in this chair is to mentor and teach African-American boys how to become men...and to help them through when they make mistakes," he continued. "Too often in our community, there's no one there to help."
Before the incident, Embree noted that Wright "had a ton of friends," and afterward, he knew which of them were legit. He also said that whether he wound up recruiting him or not, he would be there to talk with him if he ever wanted to call -- an offer he extended to others who weren't among the 28 players to which CU eventually extended invitations.
The conversation was a tough one: "The kid had been crying," Embree recalled. But in the end, after consultation with CU's chancellor and other heavyweights in the sports department, he decided that Wright would fit in at CU, "and I'm glad he chose to come here."
In Embree's words, "It's easy to judge, easy to call someone out -- and I know I'm not the only one in this room who's glad I was seventeen-years-old in the '80s, when we didn't have cell phones and Facebook, and you could say whatever."Those days are long gone, however -- and with that in mind, Embree had a meeting with current players about their use of social media. He didn't want to ban it ("That train has left the station"), but he insisted that it be used responsibly. His instructions: "Don't tweet anything about girls, don't use the N-word and don't tweet anything about your teammates, even if you think it's a joke."
According to Embree, he's only received complaints about recruiting Wright from four people -- just three of whom he counts, since one of the gripes was anonymous. Otherwise, he's received what he characterized as "amazing" support.
Wright will be finishing high school, either at his former New Jersey institution (he's appealing his expulsion) or another nearby facility. After his graduation, he'll join plenty of others under Embree's wing -- a responsibility the coach doesn't take lightly. "There are 105 kids in that locker room," he said, "and I need to help them become men, plain and simple."
Embree understands that doing so alone won't keep him employed. "If I'm not winning, I'm not sitting here," he said. But the way he addressed the Wright situation gave Buffs fans yet another reason to root for him.
The entire press conference is below. The first player Embree addresses is Wright. However, his main comments about the Twitter controversy begins at about the 25:20 mark.
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