Gus Malzahn apologizes to veteran

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has apologized for the behavior of two players who allegedly harassed a military veteran and her service dog as she walked to class.

Shari Duval, president of K9s for Warriors, said Thursday that Malzahn called the Air Force veteran after the incident on Tuesday. The woman, 25-year-old Ashley Ozyurt, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Duval said Ozyurt has not returned to class.

Ozyurt posted on the Service Dog Memes Facebook page that she was left in tears and "hurt, angered, and very humiliated."

Duval said the two players, whose names have not been released, used profanity toward the veteran.

"Why they did that, I have no idea," Duval said. "I guess they thought it was a good idea at the time, but it was not a good idea."

University spokesman Mike Clardy did not immediately return phone messages or emails seeking comment Thursday but released an earlier statement to media outlets saying the university was investigating the incident " and will take all appropriate action once all the facts are known."

Duval said Malzahn indicated the players would apologize. She said Ozyurt is "a little reluctant to accept the apologies of the players because they continue to tweet about it."

Duval said her group is working on putting together an awareness program with Auburn about disabled veterans and service dogs.

"Our only goal is the well-being of our warrior so she feels safe and comfortable going to school," she said.