‘I think we’re taking steps in the right direction’, Hawai’i football players react to Todd Graham criticism, actions that have been taken amid the controversy


The University of Hawaii football team continued preparations for the 19th Hawaii Bowl while navigating through the highly publicized criticism of head coach Todd Graham.

Last week, players began accusing the second year coach of verbal mistreatment and creating an unhappy team environment first on social media and then anonymously in a San Francisco publication that has since been picked up by multiple national outlets.

Following Tuesday’s practice players were asked during the media availability session to comment on the accusations and provide an update on if any actions have been taken amid the controversy.

“The coaches I think have done a great job addressing the issue now,” said linebacker and co-captain Khoury Bethley. “I think we took a little time you know, as to what was going on and coach Graham has been meeting with all of us, coaches and individuals to address these issues because I think they need to be addressed. Obviously, it got out to the media and to social media so now I think it’s our jobs as leaders to come together and address these problems and meet with the coaches so that we can get these handled.”

KHON2 Sports has learned that University of Hawaii Athletics Director David Matlin held a players only meeting earlier this week to give the players an opportunity to speak on the subject without coaches in attendance.

“I feel like what’s being said, all the rumors and stuff, some of it’s not true, some of it may be true I don’t know, but all I know is that we lost the battle when they took it out of the locker room instead of keeping it in our program,” said offensive lineman Ilm Manning. “His door is open, if you want to speak to him about anything they could have just went up to him at his office and talked to him and stuff.”

“I think we’re getting everything under control now as far as talking through things and letting everybody have that open space to speak up if there’s anything that’s bothering them or makes them just feel uncomfortable, but ultimately I think we’re taking steps into the right direction so we can take that leap and get ready for this bowl game,” added Bethley.

It appears that only time will tell on if the issues are repairable or not but on Christmas Eve the Rainbow Warriors will face Memphis in the 19th Hawaii Bowl on national television.

Prior to that game, the early National Letter of Intent Signing Day for new recruits will take place on December 15.

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