UNC basketball coach Roy Williams apologized Thursday for saying his struggling team's season - 11 losses - hit him like the suffering caused by Haiti's earthquake - more than 200,000 dead.
Williams, a Hall-of-Fame coach having one his most difficult years, made the comments to a roomful of reporters Tuesday.
Williams said, "Massage therapist told me, she said, 'You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you're having is a disappointment.' And I told her that depends on what chair she was sitting in. Because it does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life."
The next day, UNC, which won the national championship last year, lost to Duke.
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Williams had related a similar story during his weekly radio show Feb. 1 - but said that the massage therapist's comments put basketball into perspective. "What those people are having to go through is just unbelievable, and it does put what we're going through in a different light, but it doesn't make it any easier ... but it does make us understand what we're facing."
Williams left out that explanation, however, during his Tuesday appearance, causing an uproar online. The Huffington Post blog noted that "it's safe to say that no one thought the coach would compare UNC's problems with the disaster that has befallen Haiti."
Deadspin, an irreverent sports Web site, called the coach "clueless."
In a statement released by the school, Williams said he understood the relative gravity of the problems.
"In no way am I equating the tragedy in Haiti with basketball," he said. "I'm sorry that my statement at the press conference made it seem like I was comparing the two. The people of Haiti are suffering through unimaginably difficult times. I know very well that we are just playing a game."