Things got off to an intense start as the George Mason University Patriots ran onto the court during Bradford Burgess’s senior night framed jersey presentation. The standing ovation for Burgess was littered with boos towards the Patriots whose behavior all night was embarrassing in front of a national television audience on ESPN2.
After the game, Coach Smart commented, “we noticed it; we fed off it.” The Rams looked as if they were fueled by “anger,” as Bradford Burgess put it, and they put on one of their best shooting performances of the season.
Whether or not said behavior was embarrassing, it was enough for George Mason AD to issue a press release on Monday, apologizing for his team’s faux pas. Like so:
On behalf of George Mason University, we apologize for the inappropriate behavior by our men's basketball team before the game versus VCU on Saturday. Our team took the court for pre-game warm-ups prematurely during the senior night presentation for the Rams' Bradford Burgess. Our players' behavior was discourteous and showed a lack of respect for Bradford and his family, and for the VCU team and community.
I have personally expressed our apologies to Athletic Director Norwood Teague and with his consent have attempted and will continue to reach out to the Burgess family. George Mason University and our athletic program hold dearly the concept of sportsmanship and respect, and our players understand that we did not exemplify these values during the presentation to Bradford.
The teams would, of course, meet for a third time in a month if both advance to the CAA semifinals next weekend.