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USC Coach Steve Sarkisian blames drunken pep-rally comments on mix of alcohol, medication

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press, File)

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian once again apologized Tuesday for his drunken rallying cry at a Trojans pep rally over the weekend.

On Saturday, Sarkisian appeared to slur his words and used profanity during a pep rally for the team and major donors to the program. ESPN released video showing Sarkisian shouting from the podium, “Get ready to f—— fight on, baby, let’s go!”

“Fight on” is one of the school’s slogans.

Sarkisian issued an apology via a statement on Sunday.

On Monday, Sarkisian said his problems Saturday stemmed from mixing alcohol with an undisclosed medication.

He also said he doesn’t believe he has a drinking problem, but will seek help.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Daily News reported on the USC football program’s “long-time drinking culture”:

USC took one step Monday to reduce drinking as it banned alcohol in the locker room after home and road games this season. Former coach Lane Kiffin wanted alcohol in the locker room when he took over the program but it was eliminated by interim coach Ed Orgeron in 2013. Sarkisian brought it back last season. …
Critics point to the 2012 Sun Bowl, where Kiffin sported a large scrape on his forehead. Sources within the football program said Kiffin suffered the cut when he fell in the hotel after drinking. Before the game, a female employee applied make up to the scrape and Kiffin wore sunglasses despite the cold conditions for the game.
When asked by a reporter what happened, Kiffin said he was horsing around with linebacker Hayes Pullard. Later, Pullard denied Kiffin’s version and expressed dismay for being dragged into the incident.
Kiffin also had a verbal confrontation one night in El Paso with his offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu. Witnesses said alcohol contributed to the argument. Kiffin later denied any confrontation took place while Polamalu declined to comment.

Sarkisian drew quite a crowd on Tuesday.