Benedict Mathurin said hes contacted cheerleader he touched after game to apologize – Daily Mail

Benedict Mathurin said hes contacted cheerleader he touched after game to apologize – Daily Mail
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A college basketball player who sparked discussion over whether he intentionally touched a cheerleader’s breast on camera has insisted he ‘does not recall’ any contact. 

Bennedict Mathurin, 19, a star for the University of Arizona, was seen on video spreading his arms to celebrate the Wildcats’ 85-80 overtime victory over TCU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. 

The footage circulating from the TV broadcast appeared to show Mathurin awkwardly touching the member of the TCU dance team, known as The Showgirls

A different vantage point makes it appear that he doesn’t touch the cheerleader at all, and can be seen sidling around the woman to avoid getting too close as he walks past.

Mathurin met the media on Wednesday ahead of Arizona’s Sweet 16 showdown with Houston Thursday and was asked about the incident. 

‘I actually sent an email trying to reach out to the cheerleader,’ Mathurin said. ‘Through the TCU athletic department, I reached out to her and that is it.’ 

He was then asked if he has spoken to the woman and responded: ‘I answered your question.’  

Bennedict Mathurin, 19, a star for the University of Arizona, spoke to the media Wednesday after he sparked discussion over whether he intentionally touched a cheerleader's breast after a game. Mathurin said he did so unintentionally and has reached out to the woman to apologize

Bennedict Mathurin, 19, a star for the University of Arizona, spoke to the media Wednesday after he sparked discussion over whether he intentionally touched a cheerleader's breast after a game. Mathurin said he did so unintentionally and has reached out to the woman to apologize

Bennedict Mathurin, 19, a star for the University of Arizona, spoke to the media Wednesday after he sparked discussion over whether he intentionally touched a cheerleader’s breast after a game. Mathurin said he did so unintentionally and has reached out to the woman to apologize

Mathurin met the media ahead of Arizona's Sweet 16 game against Houston on Thursday night

Mathurin met the media ahead of Arizona's Sweet 16 game against Houston on Thursday night

Mathurin met the media ahead of Arizona’s Sweet 16 game against Houston on Thursday night

Officials at the University of Arizona and TCU have reportedly been in contact after the Wildcats' star guard Bennedict Mathurin seemingly tapped a cheerleader's chest on Sunday

Officials at the University of Arizona and TCU have reportedly been in contact after the Wildcats' star guard Bennedict Mathurin seemingly tapped a cheerleader's chest on Sunday

Officials at the University of Arizona and TCU have reportedly been in contact after the Wildcats’ star guard Bennedict Mathurin seemingly tapped a cheerleader’s chest on Sunday

The university’s athletic director, Dave Heeke, backed him up prior to Mathurin speaking to the press.  

‘Shortly after returning to Tucson, I was notified that people on social media were claiming a video clip showed Bennedict Mathurin may have made physical contact with a TCU student while walking off the court. I have reached out to TCU’s Athletics Department and I spoke with Bennedict,’ Heeke told ESPN

‘While he does not recall any contact, he has attempted to reach out to the TCU student through their athletic department to apologize.’

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati told Yahoo that they have ‘been in contact’ with Arizona and ‘received communication from their student-athlete,’ but did not say anything further. 

The videos of the incident circulating on social media have garnered a lot of attention, with Twitter users debating whether Mathurin deserves to be disciplined or if what happened was simply an accident. 

In the video, the cheerleader doesn’t appear to flinch or react in either of the videos that have emerged, leading many online to say there was nothing sinister to the moment.   

In newer courtside footage, filmed from a different vantage point by @hostessproblem3, Mathurin doesn't appear to touch the cheerleader at all, and can be seen sidling around the woman to avoid getting too close as he walks past

In newer courtside footage, filmed from a different vantage point by @hostessproblem3, Mathurin doesn't appear to touch the cheerleader at all, and can be seen sidling around the woman to avoid getting too close as he walks past

In newer courtside footage, filmed from a different vantage point by @hostessproblem3, Mathurin doesn’t appear to touch the cheerleader at all, and can be seen sidling around the woman to avoid getting too close as he walks past

The guard might have miscalculated the space he had available to extend his arms while exiting the court

The guard might have miscalculated the space he had available to extend his arms while exiting the court

The guard might have miscalculated the space he had available to extend his arms while exiting the court

‘Definitely not intentional,’ the poster captioned the video. 

‘The weird thing is… if he were guilty of it, don’t you think the cheerleader or arizona bb/ben would’ve made a statement? What happened to innocent until proven guilty??’   

Many users have spoken out in defense of the sophomore from Montreal, who has led the resurgence of the Wildcats men’s basketball team. Averaging 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 37.6 percent from a three-point range. Mathurin was named Pac-12 player of the year and was selected to a second-team All-American by The Associated Press. 

The outstanding player overcame tragedy to become one of the most prestigious college basketball players this season – at just twelve years old, the Canadian lost his 15-year-old brother in a bicycle accident, according to CBC.

He and his sister turned to basketball to cope. Jennifer Mathurin went on to play with the powerful North Carolina State women’s program, and is currently an associate coach at Bishop University.

Videos of the incident circulating on social media have garnered a lot of attention

Videos of the incident circulating on social media have garnered a lot of attention

Videos of the incident circulating on social media have garnered a lot of attention

Twitter users debating whether Mathurin deserves to be disciplined or if what happened was simply an accident

Twitter users debating whether Mathurin deserves to be disciplined or if what happened was simply an accident

Twitter users debating whether Mathurin deserves to be disciplined or if what happened was simply an accident

‘He was celebrating with both arms extended, didn’t see her until late, and clearly moved his left arm back as he put it down,’ one Twitter user wrote on Monday. 

‘IF he touched her (probably didn’t), he was clearly trying to avoid it. This is a non-issue that you shouldn’t legitimize by acknowledging.’

Another user ventured to say that TCU cheerleaders were too close to the the court exit and they should have moved. 

‘[Another player] had to slide around them as well to get in the lockerroom. AS OF YET, haven’t heard the cheerleader complain, so either it didn’t happen or she realized it wasn’t on purpose,’ that user tweeted. 

Others questioned if Mathurin had even touched the cheerleader, arguing that depth of angle could have played a part in making the video show something that didn’t actually happen.  

A Twitter user commented that Mathurin should apologize, but the incident appeared inadvertent

A Twitter user commented that Mathurin should apologize, but the incident appeared inadvertent

A Twitter user commented that Mathurin should apologize, but the incident appeared inadvertent 

Many social media users have spoken out in defense of the sophomore from Montreal, who has led the resurgence of the Wildcats men's basketball team. Averaging 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 37.6 percent from a three-point range

Many social media users have spoken out in defense of the sophomore from Montreal, who has led the resurgence of the Wildcats men's basketball team. Averaging 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 37.6 percent from a three-point range

Many social media users have spoken out in defense of the sophomore from Montreal, who has led the resurgence of the Wildcats men’s basketball team. Averaging 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 37.6 percent from a three-point range

The outstanding player overcame tragedy to become one of the most prestigious college basketball players this season - at just twelve years old, the Canadian lost his 15-year-old brother in a bicycle accident

The outstanding player overcame tragedy to become one of the most prestigious college basketball players this season - at just twelve years old, the Canadian lost his 15-year-old brother in a bicycle accident

The outstanding player overcame tragedy to become one of the most prestigious college basketball players this season – at just twelve years old, the Canadian lost his 15-year-old brother in a bicycle accident

Mathurin, 19,  led Arizona to its 85-80 overtime victory over TCU on Sunday

Mathurin, 19,  led Arizona to its 85-80 overtime victory over TCU on Sunday

Mathurin, 19,  led Arizona to its 85-80 overtime victory over TCU on Sunday

Mathurin is considered a top contender in this year's NBA draft

Mathurin is considered a top contender in this year's NBA draft

Mathurin is considered a top contender in this year’s NBA draft

Meanwhile, some blamed Mathurin for the incident and decried that the video has not been taken as seriously as it should have.  

An user wrote: ‘Looked like he was instinctively giving a hand slap or shake, on his way to the locker… maybe there’s another angle.’

‘This cannot go away. He needs to be held responsible for his actions,’ user Mike Regalado tweeted.  

Mathurin, a sophomore at University of Arizona, recorded 30 point on Sunday’s game, leading his team to the Sweet 16. 

He is considered a top contender in this year’s NBA draft.  

Mathurin has come through plenty in clutch situations for Arizona. It’s no surprise he made his biggest plays of the season when the Wildcats needed him the most.

The sophomore shooting guard made a 3-pointer to force overtime and then scored six more points in the extra session as the top-seeded Arizona outlasted ninth-seeded TCU 85-80 on Sunday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Mathurin, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a second-team AP All-American selection, finished with 30 points. 

After Kerr Kriisa missed a 3, Mathurin was able to wrestle the ball away from TCU’s Emanuel Miller in the paint and put it in to give the Wildcats an 83-80 lead with 1:11 remaining.

After getting the rebound and making the basket, Mathurin did a couple fist pumps near the baseline.

‘My coaches were getting on me for not getting enough rebounds. I was pretty happy about getting the offensive rebound,’ said Mathurin, who is the sixth Arizona player to score at least 30 points in an NCAA Tournament game. 

‘So I just went out there and got the rebound, made it. And I was emotional.’