Darius Paul: 'I am really sorry'

Darius Paul: 'I am really sorry'

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Darius Paul, who was dismissed from the Illinois basketball team following his arrest in France, apologized for his actions in a statement released by his family today.

“After two years with Illinois, my main goals were to proudly wear the orange and blue jersey, play high level basketball and be a good citizen. But my actions and decisions played out differently. I apologize to my family, coaches, teammates and the entire Illini Nation. I let my teammates down – who only believed in me through all of this. We were a family. I apologize to the coaches who begged me to stay on the right path and gave me a second chance to succeed. I apologize to the athletic department for not keeping promises that I made and I apologize to the Illini nation for not being able to contribute to the long historic run of Illinois basketball greatness.

"Finally, I just want to say that I am really sorry to my family. I put my family through a lot and I hope they will see a day where I am back making positive decisions that will help my family and not hurt them. I am truly sorry and hope my family and everyone who affiliates themselves with Illinois University will forgive me for my actions.

"It is my hope that the entire Illini Nation will have a great future. Go Illini!”

Coach John Groce on Monday spoke to The News-Gazette about Paul's arrest in France on Aug. 14. It led to Paul being sent home early, and he eventually was dismissed from the program on Friday evening.

“It was not fun. It’s unfortunate. You don’t want any kid to make bad decisions or bad choices,” Groce said, “You hope they all make good decisions, but certainly no one’s perfect." 

The incident in France was Paul’s second run-in with the law while a member of the Illinois program.

In April of 2014 he was arrested by UI police for underage drinking and resisting arrest, leading Groce to suspend him for the 2014-15 season. Paul pleaded guilty to the underage drinking charge and the resisting arrest charge was dropped.

Paul returned to the program this summer, where he was to meet a level of expectations in order to remain a part of the program.

“I was more concerned with him as a person than I ever was as a player,” Groce said. “This is a kid’s life. I know everyone wants to know every detail of everything when it comes to that. We’ve crossed that bridge. We’re moving on, and he’s moving on.”


More to come on this story.



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lcoil79 wrote on August 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Maybe it's my cynical pessimistic side, but that reads like a PR statement rather than his actual words.  It doesn't help that it was "released" by his family and not stated directly by him at a press conference.

To me, the words just seem empty and hollow.  The kind of thing you're almost forced to say these days.

Beem wrote on August 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I'm still waiting to see Steve Bardo's comments on this situation. Is the N-G going to ask him for a comment? He chimed in on the first arrest, saying that the area police were "stuck in the '60s and that area police are known for racial profiling" so I'd like to hear what he has to say about the French police.

ERE wrote on August 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm
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Geez previous posters-nice double shot chaser of sarcasm to that 40 ouncer of cynicism. Who hasn't screwed up? Who hasn't screwed up multiple times? Lots of hands of going up right now....

There are lots of incredibly talented people in the world who have struggled with substance addiction and many of them get into remission and make amazing contributions to their communities. Any of you tried to quit smoking, for instance? Often a successful remission is built over numerous failures. 

Wish Darius Paul all the best including moving forward with a great life and getting over the present hurdles. Sorry that he will not be playing for Illinois, Illini Nation certainly has a dept of gratitude for the many amazing moments his family brought to the Assembly Hall/State Farm Center. Send Darius your prayers and check any scorn. 

jjohnson wrote on August 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm

There is a personal sadness that does not have to turn to tragedy. I hope someone will recommend AA to Darius. John Groce is a sincerely religious man and I know has Darius's best interest at heart, and this would be some of the best advice he could give him.

New Reality wrote on August 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Bardo has nothing to apologize for because the two incidents are not mutually exclusive. Did it ever occur to you that this young man could have substance abuse issues AND also have been racially profiled? Given the fact that white people, ages 18 - 25, actually use marijuana at higher rates than blacks in the same age group, but are 3 times less likely to be arrested for it, makes your rational simplistic, and shaped more by bias than fact. We don't know, for sure whether Mr. Paul was racially profiled by U of I PD, but his recent arrest in France does not, in any way, negate the possibility that he was.

BruckJr wrote on August 25, 2015 at 5:08 pm

The French police are clearly racist too.

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on August 25, 2015 at 6:08 pm

While we honor those Americans who risked their lives  last week on the train, the Ugly American showed his head when Darius showed up drunk and breaking vehicles......and being labled an American drunk...

787 wrote on August 25, 2015 at 7:08 pm

What is disappointing, is that this kid had no one, but TWO chances to make it work... and he gave away both chances.  

What some kids would have given for just ONE chance...

And where were his teammates?  Was he off drinking alone?   Was no one else from the team around when he got out of control?