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Frank Martin, ESPN analysts defend Dawn Staley in wake of comments made by Missouri AD

Frank Martin, ESPN analysts defend Dawn Staley in wake of comments made by Missouri AD

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Missouri Athletics Director Jim Sterk added fuel to the fire Tuesday when he not only accused South Carolina fans of spitting on Mizzou players and using racial slurs, but he also insisted that the behavior was "promoted" by Gamecocks' women's basketball coach Dawn Staley.

"Yeah, it wasn't a great atmosphere. It was really kind of unhealthy, if you will," said Sterk, in an interview with KTGR radio Tuesday afternoon. "We had, you know, players spit on, and called the "n-word," and things like that. I mean it was not a good environment, and unfortunately I think, coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere and it's unfortunate that she felt she had to do that."

That grabbed the attention of South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin who took to Twitter Wednesday morning to defend Staley with this post:

Martin wasn't the only one to come to Staley's side, as many college basketball anaylast also expressed their feelinsg on Twitter, with one even calling Sterk's comments "slander."

Last night, South Carolina Director of Athletics Ray Tanner released a statement regarding the fans behavior at Sunday's game:

The commitment to a secure environment for everyone at our home games, including fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff from the home and visiting teams is of the utmost importance. In anticipation of this rivalry game, the athletics department provided security for the Missouri basketball team, above its standard operating procedure. Upon hearing the accusations regarding our crowd’s behavior towards the Missouri team, the athletics department conducted a review of our operations from the game, including interviews with staff and security personnel. In this review, we received no confirmation of the alleged behavior directed at the visiting team by fans at the game.

Staley is scheduled to speak with the media this afternoon for her weekly press conference.

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