Watch: Arkansas staffer grabs journalist’s phone and throws it to the ground

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An Arkansas staff member grabbed a phone from a journalist after the Razorbacks’ men’s basketball team lost to Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday night.

A student journalist from the Kentucky Kernal, which is an independent student newspaper at the University of Kentucky, was covering the event at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville when Arkansas staffer Riley Hall grabbed the phone of reporter Jack Weaver and threw it to the ground.

“The Kentucky Kernal is appalled by the actions of the Arkansas men’s basketball program. … no journalist, especially a student journalist, should be subjected to violence for simply doing their job,” a statement from the Kentucky Kernal said.

Hunter Yurachek, the athletic director at Arkansas, released a statement Saturday after he said he visited with Hall and “others who personally observed” the interaction.

“During our conversation, Mr. Hall expressed his regret that while leaving the floor his engagement inadvertently resulted in knocking the reporter’s cell phone from his hand,” Yurachek said in the statement. “While, based on our discussion, I do not believe there was malicious intent, I have addressed the issue with Mr. Hall and he agrees his actions were not appropriate or reflective of our program.

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“On behalf of Mr. Hall and our program, I want to offer an apology to the reporter impacted by these actions.”

Arkansas lost the game 67-61. The Aggies will play Vanderbilt, who beat Kentucky, in the semifinals on Saturday.

What led up to the incident?

Tensions were high for most of the game as several times during the game Arkansas assistants had to restrain head coach Eric Musselman. Arkansas blew a 13-point halftime lead, shot 40 percent, including 5-20 from 3 for the game, and scored only 23 points in the second half.

“If you get down 7-0 in the foul count at any level, whether it’s CYO, college, the NBA, it affects your aggressiveness defensively, especially a team that shoots foul shots percentage-wise, as well as Texas A&M, has all season long,” Musselman said.

Musselman did not mention the incident involving the student reporter at the postgame press conference.

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