Text of the statement issued Tuesday night by Carmento Floyd, wife of University of Missouri president Elson Floyd, about her friendship with troubled former Missouri basketball player Ricky Clemons. Some of their telephone conversations were taped when Clemons was serving a sentence during the summer in the Boone County Jail; a standard message on the phone line informs users that calls are subject to being recorded.
``I deeply regret that some have seen fit to make my private telephone conversations a public matter. I am not a public figure and I frankly had hoped that my status as a private individual would afford me the same privacy that everyone else is entitled to expect. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.
``I maintained contact with Ricky Clemons during the time he was in jail and immediately after he was released. I did so because of my personal concern for him and his future, my professional training and my experiences as a wife and mother.
``When Ricky was injured at my home riding my ATV — and it is mine — I took a personal interest in him. I did so first because of Ricky's injuries, which were serious, and then because he needed support and encouragement.
``In North Carolina I coordinated a statewide program called 'Reentry' that assisted in locating educational placements for adjudicated youths upon their release from training schools. Knowing the terrible difficulties that face young men and women under such circumstances I wanted to encourage Ricky not to become another statistic by dropping out of school. I believe the best way I could ensure that he might resume his education upon his release from jail was to maintain contact with him and offer him support in trying to turn his life around.
``I was aware I was doing something that my husband had asked me not to do. Although my husband was aware that Ricky would call, because he would sometimes answer the telephone, he was not aware of the extent of my contacts since I generally spoke to Ricky when my husband was not at home.
``I am deeply sorry for the pain and agony I have caused my husband and I apologize to him and anyone else concerned for any embarrassment that my actions might have caused. I hope, however, people will understand that trying to help a troubled young man is not a bad thing. Ricky Clemons made mistakes and broke the law. He paid the price for that. Was it wrong to try to set him on a better path and hope he could salvage the rest of his life?''
Source: University of Missouri system.