Kansas State University

Martin apologizes for player contact

COLUMBIA, Mo. —Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin apologized after Saturday's game for the physical contact he made with Wildcat Chris Merrieweather during the 74-68 loss to Missouri.

"Before you guys ask any questions, I want to apologize," Martin said in his postgame news conference. "I flicked, I kinda whacked Chris Merriewether in his side there after that one turnover. We just talked about that in the locker room. That's a mistake on my part. I'm an old-school guy, but I also understand the times are real sensitive right now. I love him. I don't know what to tell you. It's wrong on my part and completely out of line and had no part in the game. I mean to apologize for those actions."

Video replays showed Martin reached out to Merriewether during a team huddle and make contact with the player's arm. Merriewether leaned backward following the contact, and Martin immediately reached out with an open palm and asked for a low-five, which Merrieweather did.

Merriewether, a senior guard who scored eight points, defended Martin.

"He hit me in the arm. It wasn't really that serious," Merrieweather said. "Jacob Pullen came back right after and hit me in the arm, too. It really wasn't too much. I trust Frank and Frank trusts me, and, you know like I said, just a heated moment-type deal. It's all right.

"It's not a big deal at all. He came up to me after the game, we talked about it. We talked about some other things as well. We've just gotta come back Tuesday and get a win. I trust Frank, Frank trusts me. He's had my back since Day 1. I'll always have his back."

In a statement released Saturday night, athletic director John Currie said, "I met with Coach Martin and Chris Merriewether upon their return from Columbia tonight. Coach Martin clearly understands his contact with Chris at the end of the game was unacceptable, regardless of the emotion of the moment. I am proud of Coach Martin for immediately apologizing and I expect that there will be no further such incidents."