Fan did insulting

Fan did insulting

By Bob Hammel, Monday Herald Telephone

March 30, 1981

From the March 30, 1981 Bloomington Herald-Telephone

PHILADELPHIA – Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight tried to lock in on one of tonight’s national championship game with North Carolina today after giving his version Sunday of his Saturday night encounter with a Louisiana State fan.

The incident occurred about four hours after Indiana’s 67-49 semifinal victory over LSU. Knight gave his version during a scheduled press conference Sunday, after a Philadelphia newspaper account Sunday morning that he called “unfactual.”

Knight said he and some friends were headed for dinner at the Hoosiers’ tournament hotel (the Cherry Hill, N.J., Inn). They were walking through the hotel restaurant’s bar when an LSU fan – one of about 200 based at the same hotel – said, “Congratulations.”

“All morning Saturday, when our players were walking back and forth in the hotel between our meeting room and the breakfast room, LSU fans kept hollering, ‘Tiger bait, Tiger bait,'” Knight said.

“As I walked past this guy, I turned to him and said over my shoulder, ‘Well, we really weren’t Tiger bait after all, were we?’ and I kept on walking with the people in my party.”

Knight said the fan – Louis Bonnecaze Jr., a public accountant from Baton Rouge – shouted an obscenity at him, then repeated it.

“I walked over – I did a little more than walk over, I walked swiftly over – and I said, ‘Would you like to say again what you just said?’

“He said, ‘I gave you a compliment and you were very sarcastic and rude to me.’

“I said, ‘No, I wasn’t sarcastic and rude to you. I just threw something back at you that our kids have been hearing all day long.’

“He said, ‘Well, you’re still an (obscenity).

“I grabbed him, shoved him up against the wall and turned and walked away.”

One news account said Bonnecaze wound up in a garbage can. The story was headlined “Knight trades shoves, insults with LSU fan.”

“We didn’t trade shoves, I did all the shoving,” Knight said.

“And we didn’t trade insults, he did all the insulting.”

Bonnecaze called police, but a police spokesman said, “There were no arrests, no injuries, everybody parted friends and shook hands.”

Knight said he has frequently been called names in arenas and “put up with it. I probably ignore 10,000 things for every one that I get upset about. But I’ll be damned if I’ll take that in a public place.”

A writer asked: “After watching your team yesterday, I wonder: Did the fan go cleanly into the garbage can, or did he rim out?”