Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2003

Board stands behind MU president

Issue of resignation never comes up during meeting with curators

December 13, 2003

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— Even as the University of Missouri system Board of Curators gave Elson Floyd, university system president, a glowing review Friday, newly released jailhouse recordings give more examples of Floyd's wife engaging in racist talks with former basketball player Ricky Clemons.

Floyd apologized Thursday for his wife's suggestion in tape recordings released earlier that Clemons should avoid dating white women. Carmento Floyd made the suggestion in a phone conversation -- recorded by jailers, as is routine -- while Clemons was behind bars completing a sentence for domestic assault on a white woman he had dated. Clemons and the Floyds are black.

The taped conversations also included references to players receiving money from coaches.

The board has stood firmly behind Floyd. Board president Connie Silverstein said that discussion of the Clemons situation took up less than five minutes of a regularly scheduled annual discussion of Floyd's performance Friday.

"The issue of resignation did not come up," Silverstein said. "Elson came in and apologized to us again and expressed his regret about the situation. We all expressed our complete support for him and satisfaction in the job that he has done this year for us."

She also said the board supported Floyd's overall job running the four-campus system.

"I think there were a lot of really favorable comments with respect to his approach to the consolidation, with his handling of the hospital situation in Columbia, just in terms of his approach to limited resources we got from the state."

Floyd, who also attended the meeting, would not comment further Friday.

The Columbia Tribune received 16 hours worth of additional jailhouse conversations Thursday and reported on the contents of the recordings in its Friday editions.

In the tapes, Mrs. Floyd discussed the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case with Clemons and Amy Stewart, the wife of Missouri Associate Athletic Director Ed Stewart. Mrs. Floyd gave Clemons some advice on avoiding such trouble by not being involved with white women.

"No pink toes," she said.

At one point, Clemons said the women were discriminating against his white friends.

"We ain't discriminating. We've all got white friends," Amy Stewart said.

"But what I want you to discriminate," Mrs. Floyd said, "is your choice of women, partners -- sexual and non-sexual."

As the three discussed the FBI's interest in Clemons, the ex-player said he didn't think the harassment would stop until he left Columbia. He said his brother compared his situation to "Martin Luther King walking through Alabama."

Carmento Floyd responded: "That's a good analogy."

"It is true," Amy Stewart said. "He had a dream, and Ricky has a dream."

In an interview aired Friday on The Sporting News radio network, Clemons broke his near total silence to discuss the contents of the jailhouse tapes. He told the radio network he stood behind accusations caught on jailhouse recordings that he received money from coaches at Missouri.

Clemons also said he was sorry about the turmoil the situation has caused the Floyds.

"They done got bad press and it's been bad, but they really had nothing to do with it," Clemons said of the Floyds.

The Floyds became involved with Clemons last spring at the request of basketball coach Quin Snyder. Clemons was serving his sentence in a halfway house when he was injured July 4 while riding an all-terrain vehicle near the home of the Floyds.

Because he did not have permission to be at Floyd's home that night, his work-release assignment was revoked and Clemons served the rest of his sentence at the Boone County jail. He was kicked off the team after being released from jail in July.

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