Veteran referee Ted Valentine made a mistake in turning his back to North Carolina guard Joel Berry in the second half of Wednesday’s game with Florida State, UNC coach Roy Williams said on Friday.
After seeing the topic hashed and rehashed on multiple ESPN talk shows, Williams was ready to move on.
“People make mistakes,” Williams said. “It didn’t look good. I don’t think the intention was there for it to look as bad as it did look.”
No. 12 UNC travels to No. 8 Virginia on Saturday but Williams met with the media on Friday and was asked about the minor controversy from the Tar Heels’ loss at FSU on Wednesday.
Never miss a local story.
A recap of what happened:
With 7:33 left in the game, UNC turned the ball over in transition. UNC guard Kenny Williams was trying to throw an outlet pass to Berry. The replay showed Florida State’s Terance Mann grabbed Berry’s left arm as Berry was trying to run down the floor.
After the ball went out of bounds, Berry tried to talk to Valentine. Berry walked toward Valentine and then the veteran official put both hands with his palms out, as if to motion “stay away.”
Before Berry could get close enough, Valentine turned his back to Berry and crossed his arms while Berry continued to talk.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened,” Williams said. “It looks bad. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. Both of those guys are competitors, and they’ll both go on and be fine.”
The ACC released a statement on Thursday that said it would address Valentine’s actions internally.
Williams said Friday “99 percent of the time” there’s nothing wrong with the interaction between a player and an official.
Williams said there are times when he prefers to have the players try to talk to an official, rather than himself.
“I think players should be able to go and say something to an official,” Williams said. “I do that a lot of times, instead of me standing over there screaming at a guy, ‘Hey, will you watch this, will you watch this. Hey! Hey! I’m talking to you, you dumb bunk.’ ”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio