Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Updated: August 18, 8:07 AM ET
Antrel Rolle discusses Miami issues
In a report by Yahoo! Sports, New York Giants safety and former University of Miami standout Antrel Rolle is alleged to have accepted thousands of dollars in cash gifts, a $7,500 watch, multiple trips to strip clubs and nightclubs and other impermissible benefits from Nevin Shapiro, a former university booster.
Rolle addressed the allegations and his relationship with Shapiro Wednesday afternoon. He did not issue any direct denial when asked about the veracity of claims in the Yahoo! report.
"Right now, to me it doesn't matter what's true and what's not true," Rolle said. "Like, there's really nothing for me to comment on with this guy. Obviously he's on a rampage to cause, you know, havoc. And, you know, I'm just going to let him do his talking because right now it's really irrelevant and it (doesn't) concern me at this point."
Shapiro, now serving 20 years in federal prison, claims he treated players to sex parties, nightclub outings, cars and other gifts, according to the Yahoo! report. Shapiro told the website that he provided improper benefits to 72 football players and other athletes at Miami from 2002 to 2010.
In addition to the benefits listed above, Rolle is alleged in the Yahoo! report to have accepted $1,500 in bounties for in-game accomplishments, trips on Shapiro's yacht, food, drinks and entertainment at Shapiro's $2.7 million home and transportation to and from nightclubs and strip clubs from Shapiro's bodyguards.
"I'm not going to comment on him," Rolle said of Shapiro. "I'm not going to comment on the things that he may have or may not have tried to do. To me, right now, that guy is irrelevant."
According to Yahoo!, Shapiro also told federal agents in taped interviews that his former partner in Axcess Sports -- then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue -- told him that he had paid Rolle approximately $40,000 while he was playing for Miami.
Shapiro was sentenced to prison in June for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, plus ordered to pay more than $82 million in restitution to investors.
"He's angry. If you get 20 years in prison and you know certain things like that happen, you're going to find someone to take it out on, right?" Rolle said. "I guess we have to bite that bullet."
The NCAA said Wednesday it has been investigating the relationship between Shapiro and Miami for five months, and the allegations -- if true -- show the need for "serious and fundamental change" in college sports.
"We were well aware of it and weren't surprised by the sensational media coverage. We've been on top of it for a while, gathering information and collecting data," NCAA president Mike Emmert said Wednesday in an interview with ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning."
Emmert said that typical investigations take six to seven months to complete.
"If the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the University of Miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental change in many critical aspects of college sports," Emmert said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon after his radio interview.
Rolle, who played for Miami in 2001-04, admitted that he is concerned for his former school.
"I think this is bringing unnecessary drama to the program that doesn't need to be," Rolle said. "I'm a Miami guy at heart and I will always be a Miami guy at heart and I just want those guys to have the same fortune in their career as I have. ... But you know, right now, there's a lot of drama going on with that school and it's all caused by one guy, one angry guy. To me, in my mind, all you can do is just pray for him and I'm just hoping that UM comes out OK with this and hoping that they understand that there really is no issue."
Rolle said he has not read the Yahoo! report but added that his mother is concerned over his association with Shapiro as it was portrayed in various news reports on Wednesday.
"My mom has been calling me and saying they keep showing him with my jersey on and I'm like you know (shoot) I didn't give him the jersey," Rolle said. "When I saw him, he supposedly had jerseys each and every week so I just happened to be the jersey he had on during the Florida State game. And, you know, he represented me. (Shoot) I played ball down there. He should ... wear the number 6 jersey."
Rolle said he is hopeful that Miami can avoid any further repercussions -- such as NCAA sanctions -- from Shapiro's claims in the Yahoo! report. He did not seem to be concerned about revelations concerning his personal association with Shapiro, as detailed in the report. It is unclear if Rolle can be disciplined for violating NCAA rules.
"There's nothing for me to deal with, there's nothing for me to focus on when you're talking about that," Rolle said. "My only concern is for the University, hoping that everything goes OK with them, hoping that that coach (Al Golden) does get his opportunity to share the battlefield with those guys and there's not going to be any further damage."
Rolle was asked directly if Shapiro's claims were untrue.
"I can't tell you what's true and what's not true," Rolle said. "I can only speak for myself. When it comes to me I have nothing to say about this guy and I have nothing to comment on."
ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.