About 12 hours after his nationally televised run-in with Auburn’s Haley Fagan made national news, Florida softball coach Tim Walton has apologized to Fagan and explained his part in the altercation, releasing a short statement through the official Twitter account for Florida’s softball program.
Statement from @_TimWalton addressing the Auburn series finale. pic.twitter.com/jjzSV71zWY— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) March 28, 2017
The text of the statement, if squinting isn’t for you:
“I apologize to Haley. I just wanted to congratulate Auburn on the win — it was a good series.
“My intent was to give a high-five to each opposing player as we do after every game. Apparently, her hand wasn’t up as I said ‘good game’ and I touched her shoulder. I should have paid closer attention and did not intend to upset her.
“I regret that this has taken attention away from the effort and sportsmanship both teams displayed all weekend.”
Walton apologizing is a fine step for him, as he could likely have gone on with his business without addressing the altercation at all, and now has first-mover advantage by apologizing before Fagan says anything more.
Walton giving Fagan the benefit of the doubt by granting her an “apparently” for her hand being down, and mentioning the sportsmanship on display all weekend while not mentioning Fagan declining a high-five and then shoving him in the back? Those are also perhaps notable aspects of his statement.
Florida took the first two of the three games of the weekend series from Auburn, winning on Saturday and Sunday before falling in a 1-0 decision that snapped a 27-game winning streak on Monday night.