Earlier today PORTLAND OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano reported that LeGarrette Blount once accidentally punched former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti in the face during a practice scuffle.
Though acknowledging a practice “scuffle” involving Blount, Bellotti today denied that he was struck by Blount during the altercation. Bellotti to ESPN Radio’s Scott Van Pelt (audio):
LeGarrette Blount never hit me, not accidentally nor on purpose …. I do remember where I had to break up a scuffle during practice … LeGarrette was an offensive player and there were a couple defensive players and I stepped between them. … LeGarrette Blount never struck me.
After Bellotti’s denial, I contacted Canzano for a response. Canzano replied with this statement via email:
I stand by the reporting in the column. I now have four sources who were present who tell me the incident went beyond simple pushing and shoving and that Bellotti was accidentally struck in the fray as he stepped in to break it up. The larger, and more important, point of the column related to coaches who were eager to cover for LeGarrette all along. So I guess I’m not totally surprised that Bellotti wants to half-way characterize the incident.
The Oregonian has also publicly stood behind Canzano’s reporting on the subject.
As has my own source on the subject.
I was informed today by a source inside the Oregon football program that after Bellotti was struck by Blount during the Canzano-cited closed practice incident, “he (Bellotti) had a welt on his face and everyone was talking about it afterwards.”
I can’t blame Bellotti for trying to protect Blount in this circumstance, but he certainly seems to be in the minority in his version of what happened during the “scuffle” involving Blount at a closed Oregon football practice two years ago.
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