Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Now It's the Head Hog's Turn to Talk

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt finally broke his silence regarding his relationship with a Fort Smith news anchor, saying in a statement posted on the Razorback website that "speculation and rumors that I have had an inappropriate relationship with Donna Bragg are unfounded and false."

The carefully crafted statement is the latest in a series of denials from the Nutt camp and came a day after the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that former quarterback Mitch Mustain was among those filing Freedom of Information requests seeking cell-phone and office-phone records for Nutt.

Bragg, who is divorced, denied any inappropriate relationship with Nutt in an interview with the Democrat-Gazette. Nutt's wife, Diana, issued a statement last week supporting her husband.

In his statement, Nutt addressed the 1,063 text messages and 25 phone calls between himself and Bragg from Nov. 30 through Jan. 11. One of the text messages came 19 minutes before kickoff of the Capital One Bowl, which the Razorbacks lost, 17-14, to Wisconsin.

"My communications with Ms. Bragg have concerned her work as a professional fundraiser for a non-profit organization dedicated to providing services to the developmentally disabled, her insights regarding the media, words of condolence and support regarding the loss of my mother-in-law after her battle with cancer, and information relating to her close friend who was diagnosed with cancer. I have learned a valuable lesson through this experience: for some individuals, misguided perceptions are more important than the facts."

Nutt also said he was not seeking employment elsewhere when made calls that appeared to be related to openings at North Carolina and Miami.

"It also is important that all Razorback fans know that I did not seek the coaching positions indicated in recent media reports and remain deeply committed to the University of Arkansas. It is true that many coaches receive inquiries throughout the year and inquiries have come to me in recent months without solicitation on my part."

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