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Spurrier apologizes to SEC for criticizing officials

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier
apologized to Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive for
saying SEC referees could have personal biases that effect
officiating.

Spurrier was reprimanded by Slive on Monday for violating league
rules against criticizing referees.

"Some of them I shouldn't have said, I really shouldn't have,"
Spurrier said Tuesday. "I guess I've got to learn that anytime I
talk it can be repeated."

Spurrier told his radio call-in audience last week that SEC
referees who live in the Southeast could carry biases into games.

"In the SEC, I know how these guys are. They go out and have a
beer with their buddies and they say, 'Man, you stuck it to them
last week, you really got Spurrier and them Gamecocks, didn't
you?"' Spurrier said on his show.

"Everybody says that doesn't happen. But I think it does
happen. I'm in favor of referees who don't even know who you are
and they come from different parts of the country," Spurrier said,
according to media reports.

Spurrier said Tuesday that in the past, things discussed with
fans on call-in shows used to fade when the program ended. "But
they don't die anymore," Spurrier said.

Spurrier's motivation was defending his players against what he
thought were bad calls.

"Anybody in here ever been a coach, anybody?" he said. "Well,
your players sort of become a little bit like your own kids in the
fact ... if they're mistreated, you're their only voice. You're the
only one who can speak up and try and defend them."

It was the second time this year Spurrier's call-in candor made
headlines.

In September, Spurrier told listeners about a conversation he
had with the SEC's coordinator of officials following Georgia's
18-0 victory over the Gamecocks.

"I heard our fans booing a lot the other night and later in the
week I learned that Georgia should've been called for about 12, 13
clips or holds during that game that wasn't called," Spurrier said
Sept. 14.

"I'm not berating the officials, but we learned later the head
of officials said, 'Hey, those should've been called,"' Spurrier
said.

Still, Spurrier admitted he went too far with his latest rant.
He promised Slive he would keep his "mouth shut the rest of the
year as far as officiating."