football

Franklin apologizes for obscene gesture

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[rl]Beforetherewerehighfives,celebrations,dances,cheersandlaughteronSelectionSundayatSanDiegoState'sathleticscenter,JamaalFranklinsatinhischairwithhisfaceburiedinhisshirt,wipingawaytears.
FranklinhadopenlyflippedoffwhatappearedtobearefereeatcentercourtlateinthefirsthalfofSaturday'sMountainWestTournamentchampionshipgameagainstNewMexico,andTVcamerascaughttheincident.
WhileFranklindeniedmakingtheobscenegesturealtogetherafterthegame,onSunday,headdressedtheincidentinfrontofteammates,fansandmediamembers.Hesaidhedidindeedflipthebird,butsaidthehandmotionwasdirectedatLobofansspewingvenomattheMWPlayeroftheYear.
"Ididgivethefingerout,Ican'tdenythat,"Franklinsaid."Ican'tlieaboutthat.ALobofanwasbuggingmethewholetimecallingmetheN-wordandtalkingaboutmyfamilyanditjustgotundermyskin.WhichIshouldhaveneverletgetundermyskin.IchosetobeastudentathleteandIknowthat'sthetaskIhavetotake.IjustwanttosayI'msorry-I'mgoingtoworkrealhardandI'mnotgoingtoletthishappenagain."
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TheincidenttookplacewithlessthanasecondremaininginthehalfafterFranklinwaswhistledforanoffensivefoul.Thesophomoreguardwasclearlyupsetwiththecallandonhiswaybacktothedefensiveend,appearedtostaredowntherefandflipthefinger.
Franklinsaidthat'snotwhathappened,however,andvehementlydeniedmakingthegesturetowardtheref.
"Ididn'tgivethefingertotheref;Iwouldnevergivethefingertotheref,"hesaid."I'mnotgoingtoputourprogramandoursysteminthatsituationagainandIjustwanttosayI'msorry."
WhileheadcoachSteveFisherwasclearlydisappointedinthewholeordeal,nopunishmentisexpectedtobeleviedonhisstarplayer.
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"Wehadanunfortunateinappropriatesituation(Saturday)thatinvolvedJamaalFranklinonourteamwhereheallowedhisemotionstogetthebetterofhimandhereactedtosomeLobofansinafashionthatisunacceptable,"Fishersaid.
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ClickHeretoviewthisLink.FranklinfinishedhisapologyonSunday,receivedaroundofapplausefromfansandteammates,andretreatedtohisseat,whereheremainedvisiblyupsetevenafterSDSUfoundoutitwouldbeaNo.6seedintheNCAATournament.
"IfeellikeIletthiscommunitydown,thisprogramdown,andIlettheschooldown,"Franklinsaid."Iprettymuchletmyemotionsgetthebestofme."
FranklinleadsSDSUinscoring(17.1)andrebounding(8.0)thisseason.HeisexpectedtobeintheAztecs'startinglineupwhentheytakeonN.C.StateonFridayintheNCAATournament.
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