Pinkel sends letter to Tiger Nation following arrest

Friday, November 18, 2011 | 11:53 a.m. CST; updated 1:18 p.m. CST, Friday, November 18, 2011

COLUMBIA — In response to his arrest Wednesday night for driving while intoxicated, MU football coach Gary Pinkel wrote an open letter to Tiger Nation apologizing for his actions.

Pinkel was pulled over by Boone County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday night for lane and signal violations, and he was taken into custody when it appeared that alcohol was involved, a previous Missourian story reported. On Thursday, Pinkel was suspended from coaching for one week, among other consequences.


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On Friday morning, Pinkel was charged with a Class B misdemeanor for driving while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty to the charges, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Cassandra Rogers said.

Here is the letter Pinkel wrote to Tiger Nation:

Tiger Nation,

I reach out to you with a sense of great personal disappointment and regret over the decisions I made this past Wednesday night. We've known each other for a long time and I've worked hard to represent you and the University of Missouri, a place we all love, with the highest standards of integrity. I put myself in a situation that was absolutely counter to those standards and it pains me to know that I let you all down. We've built a family here at Mizzou, and it's built on trust.

On Wednesday night I betrayed that trust.

Social responsibility and discipline are two things I constantly emphasize to our team. My lack of both in this instance will hopefully prove to be a teachable moment and serve as an example to others of what not to do. I've stressed to my players that there are consequences to your actions and I face stiff consequences for what I've done. It will be the most difficult day of my professional life to not be with my team this Saturday. My heart goes out to this group of seniors who will be playing their final home game at The Zou. They've accomplished so much and I'm very proud of them. Don't let my mistake shed a negative light on the many outstanding ways all of our players represent Mizzou.

I realize it's not as simple as saying sorry and moving on. I expect to be held accountable. I embrace the challenge of building back the trust of Tiger fans everywhere.

It's a great honor to be your coach.


Gary R. Pinkel

Head Football Coach

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Donald Moore November 18, 2011 | 4:00 p.m.

I want to commend you Coach Pinkel for showing leadership by taking responsibility for a major life mistake. It makes me proud to as a fan of the University of Missouri to know we have people with your character leading our young men and women. I have been reading different posts on this article in the KC Star by people who obviously have never made a mistake in their life. It is easy to cast stones and make ridiculous comments. But thoughtful commentary would be that we are all human and we all make mistakes, some mistakes are worse than others. I have always believed that when you are responsible in your contrition you deserve forgiveness. I experienced a similar incident in my life in 1989 as I was finishing my career in the Marine Corps. I was in a leadership position and I accepted responsiblity for my mistake by losing all opportunity for future advancement in the Marine Corps as well as the penalties the justice system imposed on me. The harshest punishment for me however was the embarrassment and the sense that I had let down the my family, the people who I lead, and the people that had placed me in position of leadership. Over twenty years later and well into a new career in education I still feel a sense of embarrassment that I could have had such a serious lapse in judgement. Coach Pinkel, I just want you to know that I believe your contrition and I know the true penalty you are paying for your mistake. You have my support and you and your family are in my prayers.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 19, 2011 | 7:06 a.m.

Tiger Nation, huh. Is it a member of the United Nations? Does it have a seat on the Security Council? Is it a member of NATO, SEATO or the Arab League? Does it have an ambassador to the Vatican?

Apparently its citizens are mobile, exhibiting the ability to move from one athletic conference to another.

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