Fired Gophers football coach defends leadership after report

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Former University of Minnesota football coach Tracy Claeys is defending himself after an outside review blamed “weak leadership” by the coaching staff for a threat by players to boycott the Holiday Bowl.

Claeys wrote a commentary that appeared online Wednesday. The review released last week found the university followed law and policy properly when it suspended 10 players last fall following an accusation of sexual assault.

Claeys backed the boycott, but players ultimately decided to play and beat Washington State 17-12. Claeys was fired a week later.

Claeys says in hindsight he would have refrained from using social media to support the team’s decision. But he says as a coach, he respected his team’s decision, “responsibly addressed the situation and quickly defused the boycott.”

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