Barnett: 'I expect to be reinstated'
CU football coach Gary Barnett
(CNN) -- University of Colorado head football coach Gary Barnett was suspended from his duties Wednesday, a day after he made disparaging comments about Katie Hnida, a former Colorado kicker who alleges she was raped by a teammate. Also Thursday, a sixth woman came forward and claimed a Colorado player raped her.
Barnett spoke to CNN's Larry King Thursday night.
BARNETT: Well, let me say first, Larry, I'm speaking on my behalf. I don't represent the University of Colorado, the athletic department or our football team. As someone described today, I think I said the wrong thing, the wrong way, and at the wrong time. We were in a briefing. We were trying to express our concern for Katie over the allegation of her experience in our football program. And I was trying to communicate that we cared about Katie. That we were going to go to any extent that we could to help her achieve her dream of being a college football kicker. And that was my intent. No matter what her ability was, we were trying to find a way to make sure she had a chance to do this. And you know, I've always -- I've always cared about our players, every player. I care about Katie, and I've always stood behind our players, and I'm standing behind Katie now.
KING: But you can see coach, how it looked. It looked like here's a girl saying she's been raped and here's a coach saying she wasn't a good player. I mean, it looked terrible.
BARNETT: I understand how it looked. And I really do. And that's why I said I said the wrong thing. And I took a question that maybe I shouldn't have taken. I should have cut my conversation off sooner. As I said, we were there to express our concern for Katie. And I was trying to express my care for her in that no matter what her ability level was we were going to try to keep her around....
KING: What do you make, coach, of these other charges?
Five other women have apparently made charges about being accosted at the university. A woman quoted yesterday in a police report that she'd been assaulted by a player coached by you just a couple years ago.
BARNETT: Well, I've -- you know, some of those things I can't really talk to, Larry, just because of legal issues about it. When I came to Colorado in 1999, I made a decision to change the culture there, around academics and around recruiting. I introduced a 124- page manual that talked about behavioral and character expectations including but not totally -- or not completely sexual harassment, alcohol abuse, and specifically date rape. You know, we brought in speakers, nationally known speakers, on sexual harassment, diversity. We bring in every night during our summer camp for three weeks from 9:00 till 10:00 at night, we go through every single section of that book with our players. And so -- we bring in the university police...
KING: So what do you gather happened, then?
What happened wrong at Colorado?
BARNETT: Well, I don't know that at this point in time you can say anything has gone wrong. I think that there are a lot of allegations at this date. There's yet to be anything proven. There's yet to be any charges brought. And my point that I was trying to make was that you know, we'd done a lot. In 2001 we had some serious allegations. And although there were never any serious charges brought, we took another step to continue to impress upon our young guys that discipline and the character building that's needed. We changed our recruiting. We have a 1 a.m. curfew on our players now. When you visit our campus as an athlete, you're in the hotel room checked in by a staffer at 1 a.m. and that's unusual in a college situation.
KING: Do you think you're being treated unfairly?
BARNETT: You know, I don't know what to say to that, Larry. I just know that the way that it's coming across nationally, I just don't think that's who I am. I think that we have done a great deal, we've always acted swiftly to punish our players when they haven't done things the right way. We've done -- we've had numerous exercises and programs to enhance and improve and teach character. You know, right now in this culture that we're in we get kids that come to us that have already been exposed to a wilder side of life than you or I ever saw. So we have almost a responsibility to get them through that and to get them out in the real world, and it's difficult today in this particular climate.
KING: Do you want to stay at Colorado?
BARNETT: I do want to stay at Colorado.
KING: Do you expect to be reinstated?
BARNETT: I expect to be reinstated. I do.