By: Joe Kay, AP Sports Writer
(AP) A reporter who was barred from two Cincinnati basketball games following an argument with coach Bob Huggins showed up for a game against DePaul on Wednesday night and was allowed to stay.
Cincinnati Post beat writer Jason Williams walked through the media entrance to the Shoemaker Center, identified himself to the guard and was waved through.
“We thought he would respect our wishes,” Athletic Director Bob Goin said. “We expected that he would not come. It’s over with. We have no intention of doing anything.”
Goin had banned Williams from covering the DePaul game and another next Saturday against Louisville because of an argument between the reporter and Huggins before practice last week.
The newspaper talked to the university, trying to get the ban lifted. Newspaper editors told Williams to show up for the game, and had a columnist present as well.
“I was just told to do my job as I always do, and in a professional way like I always do,” Williams said.
Huggins walked past the reporter at courtside on his way to do a pregame show, but didn’t look at him or acknowledge him.
A few minutes before the start of the game, Goin issued a statement saying that Huggins and the Bearcat players would be “less cooperative in complying with all interview requests” from Williams.
Williams wrote a story last week in which Huggins lashed out at fans for the lack of sellouts at the Shoemaker Center. Cincinnati failed to sell out any of its first eight home games.
In the story, Huggins referred to fans with a profanity. Two days later, Huggins used his weekly radio show to reassure fans that he meant nothing derogatory. He repeated that he wished there were bigger crowds to see the Bearcats, who are ranked No. 7.
“I know what this town is capable of doing and certainly our fan base is capable of doing,” Huggins said. “But in no way, shape or form have I ever said or meant anything detrimental to our fans.”
Goin said the two-game ban had nothing to do with the story. He said that Williams had instigated the argument with Huggins before a practice last Thursday. Williams denied that he started the argument.