Basketball: Cal issues statements in response to Mike Montgomery’s shove of Allen Crabbe

Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour, in a statement released several hours after the Bears’ 76-68 win over USC on Sunday night, said coach Mike Montgomery’s shove of star player Allen Crabbe during a second-half timeout was “unacceptable,” but added, “I am confident that something like this will not happen again.”

Montgomery, in his fifth season as Cal coach, gave Crabbe a shove with 16:31 left in the game, hoping to motivate him to play better. A few minutes after the game, he said, “It worked, didn’t it?” He also said he would do it again.
In a statement later, Montgomery said, “I have great passion for this game and tonight, I let my emotions get away from me in the heat of the moment. While my intent was to motivate our student-athletes, my behavior was inappropriate and I apologize for my actions.”
Barbour’s full statement:
“Sunday’s game was an emotional one for everyone who cares deeply about our men’s basketball program, and the Bears certainly showed tremendous resolve coming back to earn a win over USC. However, it is unacceptable for our coaches to have physical contact with student-athletes regardless of the circumstances. The second-half incident was certainly out of character for Mike Montgomery, and I am confident that something like this will not happen again.”
Crabbe, the Pac-12 Conference scoring leader, totaled 23 points in the win over USC, 14 of them after Montgomery gave him a sharp push and yelled, “Do you want to play?” Cal trailed by 12 points at the time.
Crabbe became agitated and was pulled away and into a tunnel near the Cal bench by teammates Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon. Crabbe remained in the tunnel for a couple minutes while calming down. Montgomery put him back into the game almost as soon as he returned to the bench.
After the game, Crabbe said he understood Montgomery was just trying to get him to play better.
“Just spur of the moment,” Crabbe said. “It was a emotional game at the time. He was trying to motivate me. Everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • SteveNTexas

    I’m not a Monty fan but am satisfied with th4e AD’s response, Monty’s apology . Its time to move on.

    Perhaps this will be a motivator at any rate the focus now should be to get to the NCAA’s anything else is a distraction. Glad Monty has some passion left.

  • CalBearister

    I’m going to be a contrarian here. There is not one thing wrong with what Coach Montgomery did. This is the real world Sandy, not some politically correct version of it dreamed up by a bunch of people who’ve insulated themselves from it by hiding out in an ivory tower. So let’s look at the facts:

    Fact: Alan Crabbe plays passively at times.

    Fact: Alan Crabbe went off like a beast after Monty shoved him.

    Fact: Alan Crabbe said “He was trying to motivate me.”

    Fact: It worked.

    Fact: Alan Crabbe wasn’t injured, and I’m certain didn’t suffer any pain or suffering as a result of being shoved.

    Sometimes young people need a swift kick in the ass to get moving. I know I did at Crabbe’s age. But in today’s pathetic PC world, we care for and nuture kids, protecting them from everything and treating them like delicate flowers. And then we wonder why they don’t do well in the real world.

    So I say Bravo! Coach Montgomery. Had you acted like your PC Athletic Director wanted you to, we’d have lost the game. And that’s what being PC makes you. A loser.

  • Juancho

    That isnt the real world.

    Its college sports where the coach is paid millions and the athlete isnt.

    And even if it was the real world, i dont know of too many jobs where someone being shoved by their boss is acceptable.

    Im satisfied with the statement. Time to move on. But to say nothing is wrong with the shove i think is too far. Im glad monty apologized. I thought his original postgame comments were pretty arrogant. You cant say youd do it again. Even if you would, you cant say “it worked didnt”. Because what if it hadnt.

    Time to move on.

  • Juancho

    Theyre debating it on first take !

    Pretty good points by both.

  • Juancho

    Its like our sports programs are cursed. Haha. Even when things start looking up the weirdest things happen to us.

  • CalBearister


    All the hysteria about what Monty did to Allen Crabbe is like the hissy fit the media had about Mike Leach and Adam James.

    Some young men respond by focusing and doing better (Allen Crabbe). Others cry like the little babies they will always be (Adam James). Exposing that and improving the young men who are improvable is a good thing in my mind, even if you have to be somewhat unorthodox in my mind.

    I wouldn’t support any sort of actual assault as a form of punishment. But a shove on the sideline that was no harder than the shoves the players give each other after a made shot? Please.

  • 1brsfan

    Sports are competitive and players/coaches get caught up in the heat of the moment. I played sports at the collegiate level and I know that emotions run high, especially with our team needing a nice run to be considered for the NCAA’s. I myself wouldn’t have any problem with any of my coaches giving a swift kick in the butt to get me going if that’s what I needed but that’s just me. Then again that was 30 years ago when it was okay to go Bobby Knight on players. Times have changed so Monty needs to behave accordingly. I’m fine with his apology and if it were to happen again I would expect a suspension or firing. Let’s hope that this is a learning experience for all those involved and that the team rally’s around Monty and Crabbe and lead us into the sweet 16! Go Bears!

  • Ray Finkle

    I didn’t think it was that bad, but that’s just me. Should he have shoved him? Probably not, but it got Crabbe going. To me it just looked like one of those shoves that players always do to each other to get fired up. I totally get why some people take issue with it though. This type of thing could be debated all day, I’m just glad we won.

  • CalBearister

    Agree with 1brs fan, although I wish society would toughen up a little instead of treating everyone like a china doll.

    I never really got a good swift kick in the ass in sports or in life until my first year of law school. I floated around, underperforming, headed toward a life of mediocrity.

    Then as a 1L I had professors give me that swift kick in the ass. It didn’t just change my academic work ethic – it changed my work ethic across the board (school, sports, work). If I could have gotten that years before from someone shoving me and asking me if I wanted to play, I’d shake their hand and thank them for it today.

  • joey

    Well said Bearister. I will add that none of us know Crabbe but MM knows him better than most anyone. The push was no different than what the players do to each other. MM does what he does to get through to his players.

  • CalBearister

    Thanks. And to be clear, I’m not supportive of the shove simply because ends justify the means. I’m supportive of it because it led Crabbe to play to his potential (most important thing), and because of that we won (second most important thing).

  • Mitchie V

    I AM a Monty fan. He’s one of the best in college basketball.

    My only concern with him is his fiery temper and how he screams at players at times. It’s a little Bobby Knight-ish. And I’m sure potential recruits consider it.

    That said, he knows how to win. And that was an incredible comeback vs USC.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I’ve got a serious problem with all this after finally seeing it on ESPN last night. First, it is a given that it is a no-no to lay hands in any aggressive manner upon one’s players.

    Now, I am no English major, but I have always been under the impression that a SHOVE was an act of force much more serious than a PUSH.

    To PUSH something means you move it, like a shopping cart.

    To SHOVE something requires much greater force, like like getting one’s weight behind them to SHOVE a heavy bookcase several inches along a wall, or more traditionally, to SHOVE someone onto the BART tracks.

    Monty didn’t SHOVE Crabbe.

    It was more forceful than a two handed poke. If anything, it had the characterization of a slap (though by two hands to the chest), clearly meant to startle, not coming from any intent based in aggression.

    In any event, it was not OK, but not nearly as serious as SHOVE implied.

    Seriously, had Monty done a more offensive slap to the back of Crabbe’s head to “snap him out of it [his funk],” it both would not have caused the stir this SHOVE did, and probably not have worked.

    Had it been a male coach and my daughter had been in Crabbe’s shoes (Monty’s hands a tad higher of course, shoulders instead of , you know), I don’t think I would have been upset. In fact, I’m curious what Crabbe’s parents think, especially if they were watching the game closely and viewed just how little into the game Crabbe was mentally prior to the “touching.”

  • The Wisdom Cow

    And for the love of R’hllor . . .

    Seeing that a few weeks ago there were many doubts as to whether Monty’s heart was still into coaching, this was a better sign that he still cared than the Rooks signing.

  • daredevilfan

    It was actually more hit than shove in seeing it again. I’m fine with the apology just because selfishly it smooths this over. But he double emabarrassed himself by being so arragant and holier than thou with his original comments. I literally can’t believe some of the commments I read above. Not sure what world you live in. I guess thats why fans are fans and not coaches. I thought Dan Patrick put it best today. If Monty expects his players to be poised and disciplined, shouldn’t they expect the same of him? And it wasn’t Monty’s shove/hit, or even Crabbes late offense that won the game, it was CAL picking up their defense and shutting down SC.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Question: Again, as I didn’t get to see the game and have only viewed the highlights (and ESPN’s take clearly emphasized the results, interestingly), had Monty done any screaming at the players in general, or more specifically, Crabbe, prior to the hard poke to the chest?

    Honestly, what I saw didn’t offend me at all. I believe it crossed the line, but not far enough to require any discipline.

    I’m a bit torn. I believe in the “hands off” policy, but I also KNOW Monty is teaching an alleged non-contact sport! People learn differently. Some people need significant stimuli to renew mental attention, and in an arena of screaming fans, a loud sound can’t do it, and emotional pleas don’t get conveyed. So, I’d argue some amount of touching is acceptable.

    I’d prefer a strong hand around the shoulder and forceful words spoken into the ear, but that’s my subjective opinion. If I go there, others may go where Monty did, which I still don’t think got to a point of aggression (though awful close).

    Not that it should really change the way people think one way or the other, but I’d really like to know what Crabbe’s parents thought of it.

  • Gobears49

    Left my computer on the USC game thread and just got up, so I wrote something about the shove Monty gave Crabbe last night. See below. I predicted that all Monty got was a reprimand, in large part because Crabbe didn’t complain about the shove and, I believe, said it was good for him.

    A reprimand is what, in effect, what Sandy gave Monty. He then apologized, which cemented the fact that he would not receive any more “punishment.”. I hope that is enough for to satisfy the PC police, but maybe not. Maybe the liberals will bring this up at the Berkeley city council — they do that for everything else, so why not this? Why not ask the Berkeley city council to publicly reprimand Monty so that what he did doesn’t spread like wildfire among throughout Berkeley by parents of children (pushing a kid, after all, is a technical violation of the law, even though often needed, just like last night with Crabbe).

    From the USC game thread —

    “I personally had no problem with Monty giving a shove to Crabbe. He wasn’t hurt and , most importantly, he didn’t complain about it and, I believe, said it was helpful. But this is Berkeley, the capital (or at least the west coast capital) of the liberal PC police. Who knows, if Montgomery gets away with that, then the next thing is every parent in Berkeley will be giving a shove to their kids to get them motivated, which in many, many cases would be a good thing for them.. To calm the PC police down, that’s why Monty probably will end up with a reprimand. He then will have been “punished.” Being reprimanded is the maximum punishment that is appropriate when a player admits a shove was what he needed.”

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Not like it would have even gotten a pass interference call on the final drive of the Superbowl . . .

  • Gobears49

    Wisdom Cow,

    Regarding your Rooks signing comment, see my comment about that in the USC game thread. Nobody knows about him now, but I think our freshman (now redshirting) 7 footer, Frid, is, now at least, a much better prospect than Rooks, based upon reviewing the Rooks highlight video and closely watching Frid warm up before the game last night (and what a wonderful game — I was almost sure we were dead in the water out there and I don’t think I have ever watched Cal storm back from being so far behind and then win fairly comfortably).

    I think Frid will be the biggest surprise the Bears will have next year and he will play a respectable amount of time, and probably a lot by the end of next season. The guy seems to have a lot of very good basketball skills inside and outside and is very athletic, but needs to beef up some, just like Kravish did and will likely continue to do. Am looking forward to watching him play next year. We need more help inside next year with the graduation of Thurman, and along with Behrens (though I would love to have our freshman forwards step up next year), he could provide a partial solution to that need.

  • Gobears49

    Wisdom Cow,

    You’re missing out on an amazing turnaround in Cal’s basketball fortunes if you don’t watch the game. I gave you some advice as to how to find a TV set that you could watch it on but maybe you just need to come to the game. I bought a great single ticket at face last night, and it was worth every penny. Will probably do that again for the rest of the games, though I was disappointed in the post-game show at Pappy’s — the sound was too distorted to understand anything, so it is better just to listen to the whole post-game show on the radio in the car.

    In any event, you should consider actually attending a game. Nothing like Harmon (or Haas) when it is rockin’ like it was last night. Too bad the fans didn’t storm the floor after the game — they should have because it was such a momentous victory for Cal.

  • BlueNGold

    I think the entire incident needs to be put in perspective. I bet this is not the first time Crabbe has ever been pushed around by a coach. Those things happen in physical sports. Monty apologized and said the right things. The AD said what she needed to, but reading between the lines, it doesn’t seem that she was really shocked or outraged. Again, these things happen when emotions are high.

    The real problem here is perception. That sort of stuff gets shown on TV, gets lots of press coverage and commentary from the pundits. Kids watch it at home. It does not set a good example of sportsmanlike behavior. That is certainly unfortunate, but does not justify serious over reaction to the incident in question. That is why Cal fans would do well to express their opinions on the matter without going off the deep end as to what to do about it.

  • Rollonubears

    If a motivational shove is a terminable offense, then a pat on the ass is a sexual advance. This is ridiculous. Crabbe needed this. The whole team was playing like a bunch of Ben Braun “b”s.

  • Britt Peter

    Coaches are teachers. Teachers don’t shove students or get so emotionally involved that they use any kind of physical force on a student. It is the form of emotion that he displayed that was out of line. Coaches should bring rational and objective force to the game not unchecked temper. You kats that have been blabbing about PC this and PC that are way out of line, too.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Gobears49, you apparently didn’t read my response after your recommendation.

    No sh– I’m missing out. It’s why I’m angry over the TV contracts not being what Scott said they would be.

    Leaving the house results in physical pain that precludes enjoyment of just about anything. Understand? I mean, I need to overload on pain medication and stimulants in order to take part in occasional parenting duties (assempblies or birthday parties) which decimate me for days afterwards.

    My existence sucks.

    So, when Larry Scott spoke volumes about access to all Cal games for those living in the Northern California footprint, I was ecstatic at the prospects of more diversions from the prison that is my body. Had such a proclamation not been made, I would not have been as disappointed by the lack of current access.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I wouldnt get too excited about Frid gobears, Max was twice the athlete Frid is and he got about 1 minute a game under Monty. (Team) Defense is what gets you playing time with Monty and something makes me think Frid will never be sufficient in that area, he’s slow and wont be able to rotate effectvely. But I hope Im wrong.

    The “shove” is a bunch of BS. It is totally acceptable for coaches to yell and scream obscenity after obscenity at top volume right into the face of a player on the sideline in front of 12,000 fans, in the name of “motivation”. Monty got 1000 words of “motivation” across in about 1/10th of a second with his “shove.” Ask any player, would they rather take a 30 second motivational beratement in public or a half-second motivational love-tap from coach; most would take the second option. Crabbe is a man. He wants his millions in the NBA. Monty is a veteran coach and proven consistent winner. He wants to teach his players how to succeed. When Crabbe starts cashing his NBA checks he’ll think of Monty’s “shove” and a smile of gratitude will come to his face, gauranteed.

  • Juancho

    Really interesting comments. One of those things where it’s just a grey area, and nobody is really wrong or right (potentially).

    I like 1brsfan comment the most.

    Would anybody’s comments be different if this happened to an opposing coach ?

    Had Tedford done this during the Oregon State game to Keenan would anybody say Tedford was wrong ?

    If Tosh Lupoi did this to Shaq Thompson, would anybody say anything different ?

    Had it been Johnny Dawkins, or Lorenzo Romar, or any other cometitor coach would it change your perspective ?

    What if the fighting Phil Knights’ coach did it ? Would this turn into a discussion about how they get away with anything because of the $ ?

    I thought I’d offer those as food for thought. Very likely that it wouldn’t change anyone’s opinion.

  • Juancho

    Oooh, what if Crabbe shoved Monty ? After all. Players shove each other like that all the time as noted above.

  • Gobears49

    Wisdom Cow,

    You’re right. I missed your response. I’m very sorry to hear about your condition. One other thing you can think about, though it is a bit technical, is to get someone who uses Comcast and is technically savvy to bring a portable computer or an iPad over to your house so you can view it there. I don’t know how that can be done, technically, as I’m not very computer savvy, but my son, who is away at college, says he can watch Cal games on his computer using my Comcast account.

    Again, I’m very sorry to hear about your condition and I hope you can get someone to help you out to watch Cal basketball games at your house. Maybe someone on this blog who lives in your area (I think you said West Sacramento) and can reach out and try to help a true Cal fan in need to watch the games for the rest of the season, which could be a very exciting time for Cal and its fans. Cal is on a roll and making a great season comeback along the lines of the comeback they made in the second half last night, when they were down by 15 and looked like they were on the ropes.

  • Gobears49


    All good points except for the fact that Crabbe didn’t complain about it and it was a first time offense for Monty. Cracking down hard on him for that event, especially since Monty apologized for it, is overkill. I’m sure Monty will not to do anything like this again. He knows the PC police will be watching him closely.

    See below for a quote of what Crabbe had to say about the incident, along with a link to the article I found the quote in.

    “It was coach using his way of motivating me,” Crabbe said. “There was nothing wrong with it. It was just spur of the moment. An emotional game was going on at the time and he was trying to motivate me. But everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach. No hard feelings about it.”


  • milo

    Monty crossed the line but Crabbe said he was okay with it. Monty acknowledges it wasn’t right. Sandy Barbour does her job.

    …and yet Cal freakin’ came back on a rough U$C team and beats them and stays in the upper end of the Pac.

    Cal won! Go Bears!

    Sweep the Oregons for pete freakin’ sake!

  • Juancho

    Agree with you fellas. Which is why i think 1brsfans comment is spot on.

    I just wonder how different comments may or nay not be if it was a competitor like oregon.

  • wehofx

    WOW! Great thread filled w well written and soundly argued posts pro and con. NO name calling.

    I fall on the Old School side of the argument.

    I nominate this thread for BTB Best Thread of 2013.

    I predict this will only increase the recently found team chemistry. Heart and Stones.

    20 win season is in your grasp. Go Bears!

  • BonkyBear

    I thought shove was excessive and Monty should be suspended a game…..what type of image is Cal portraying if a coach uses physical force on a player than he plays better…..unacceptable.

  • Gobears49


    Again we share the same views. I am also Old School. All of this “no touching” stuff is for the birds. The shove was very slight and didn’t hurt Crabbe at all, except maybe (temporarily) his feelings. My mother used to slap me occasionally when I got fresh and I was better for it. If she did that today she’d possibly be facing jail time.

    Loved the way Soloman and Cobbs knew who was right about this and supported the coach, pulling Crabbe away. Cal will be better for this.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    So Mike “call me Woody Hayes” Montgomery shoves a player and posters on this board rush to his defense.

    If a USC or Stanford coach had done the same thing this board would be 100 replies by now calling for firing and suspensions.

    This is another example of a double standard and exactly why I chose to leave ths board.

    Don’t bother replying. I’m gone.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    So, I watched Around The Horn and PTI to get their takes, and the worst statement I heard was trying to compare him to a Chemistry Professor that would have been immediately fired for the same offense.

    While I get the idea that he is a teacher, same as a Chemistry Professor, I do believe the fact that the coach’s subject is a contact sport (even if it is called a non-contact sport) puts it into a different category.

    Again, Monty crossed my subjective line, but not by much at all. First, people keep arguing “no touching whatsoever,” which makes me wonder how they demonstrate boxing out (which has to involve a coach or aide at at least some level). Touching happens, unlike in chemistry class.

    Now, touching to get some one’s attention? Where’s the line for that? Can you not even tap a deaf student on the shoulder if they are looking the other way?

    Anywho . . .

    After watching the highlight even more now, it’s clear to me the pop to the chest startled Crabbe, but he was not backing up and getting angry until after Solomon got involved, too. Without the audio of what all was heard and said there on the sideline, I can’t make any real conclusions on the extent Crabbe may have been offended by Monty’s touching.

    Seriously, had Monty put a straight arm to the chest of Crabbe instead, no actual force, but a touching, that could have put Crabbe on notice and honed his attention, would that minimal “touching” have caused the uproar? I think not.

    Absolutes don’t work out well in any situation save greasemonkey.

  • SteveNTexas

    Yawn- How about we push Oregon and shove them out of first place. They have been a sorry team since they lost their guard.

  • wehofx

    Thurminator tweet:

    Robert Thurman ‏@Th3Thurmin4tor

    People are definitely taking ‘the shove’ out of proportion! Leave it alone and enjoy the show we are putting on in the PAC-12. #GoBears
    True dat!

  • fredrick free

    Mike Montgomery’s been a good coach for a long time.

    This was absolutely wrong. He knows other ways to motivate his players. It was no mistake that teammates got between them. Seems Crabbe may have motivated Montgomery.

    That would not have been ok.

  • Takeoffthatredshirt


    Sorry you aren’t feeling well. I always read (and respect) your views on multiple Cal boards even if I don’t always agree. Truly hoping you feel better.



  • BlueNGold

    Yahoo sports has an article about the shove incident, and the comments that follow are almost all pro Monty. I am not behind what he did, but I just don’t see it as the horrid behavior that some do. I also expect Monty to not lose it like that in the future, which is why I am willing to be forgiving this time.

  • kasaja

    Anybody who thinks this is the first time Monty has put his had hands on a player has not been watching Cal basketball for the last two years. At SC last year he got so far up Cobbs grill with his hands that Cobbs had to be restrained. I know that happened because I was a few feet away when it did. I mentioned it to a fellow Cal basketball fan who said it was just Monty being Monty. Well Monty has been Monty a few more times since then and Sunday night it came to a head. Isn’t it sad that the only way we ever get any national press is when we embarrass ourselves.
    If Monty has lost 4 out of the last five everybody here would have been calling for his head. That’s the bottom line. Crabbe handled it very well and I hope Monty is thanking his lucky stars that he did. Had he gone off and not returned Monty would have been the loser…..along with Crabbe. If you watch the video it is clear Crabbe was having an out of body experience on the court and Monty certainly got his attention but this cannot happen again. I don’t think the next player will be quite as forgiving,

  • Kdub

    Crabbe got what he deserved…Crabbe was in Zombieland on the court…just sleepwalking out there.

    With that said….Monty was WRONG….there is no justification of pushing/shoving one of your players. Makes me wonder how many times Monty has physically abused his players in practice…probably has happened before.

    I also don’t think a suspension is warranted…but if Monty does it again, then he should definitely get suspended or fired!

    BTW, what happened to the other coaches who have pushed their players? Didn’t Todd Bozeman have an incident last year….wasn’t there another coach who pushed his player earlier this year? What happened to them?