Louisville’s Mack: ‘Not a good look’ going maskless in video

Sports

Louisville head coach Chris Mack directs his players on defense against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville coach Chris Mack admitted it was “not a good look” to be shown maskless in a video while celebrating the Cardinals’ Dec. 26 victory over rival Kentucky.

The 33-second clip, tweeted Saturday night by Kentucky Sports Radio, shows the third-year Louisville coach with former Cardinals football player Eric Wood, celebrating Christmas with family and neighbors who stopped by his house. In the video, Wood yells that former Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne, now an assistant with the NBA’s New York Knicks, was responsible for the Wildcats’ previous victories over the Cardinals before noting he’s gone, and that Hall of Fame coach John Calipari “will never beat U of L again.”

Mack tried to offer context for the video during a virtual news conference Monday. He said some of his neighbors were golfing buddies of Payne, a Louisville standout, and wanted to “give him grief” for the game. The coach also recognized the potential fallout for going maskless during the pandemic, even at home.

“When people come over to my house, which hasn’t been very often since last March, I’m probably a violator and obviously was that night,” Mack said. “Neighbors or friends stopped by and not putting on my mask around the house. … Not a good look and for that, I’ve got to do better.”

Mack added that he called Calipari upon learning about the video and told him it was a joke directed at Payne “that went sideways.”

“As I tell my players, when you do things that happen in the spotlight, you’ve got to own it,” Mack said. “Fortunately about me, I own things. I live and learn by them and we’ll move forward.

“I feel bad for doing that. But that wasn’t what the intention was by any means.”

During his weekly radio show Monday night, Calipari said he was fine and appreciated Mack’s call, but added: “He really didn’t have to.”

The video was shot less than two weeks after a previous pause within the Louisville program.

The Cardinals lost 99-54 at North Carolina on Saturday in their first game since Feb. 1, a break caused by COVID-19 protocols. Mack himself tested positive with mild symptoms and returned to practice last week.

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