Coach Floyd on 'Fire Floyd' sign: fans have a right to voice opinion

"Fire Floyd" sign controversy

EL PASO, Texas - UTEP Head Basketball Coach Tim Floyd told ABC-7 Tuesday he has no problem with fans expressing their disappointment during games.

"Absolutely not. We have a tremendous fan base," Floyd said.

Former UTEP Head Football Coach Mike Price decided to rip a letter away from a "Fire Floyd" sign at the Don Haskins Center Saturday night. The sign was being held up by several fans.

The incident happened following UTEP's 79-67 loss to Northwestern State, dropping the Miners to 2-3 and prompting some fans to voice their displeasure with 7th year head coach Tim Floyd.

"Suit him up. Put a damn uniform on him. I thought it was absolutely awesome. I hope I have that much spirit at 70," Floyd said in regards to Price's actions, "I appreciate everybody having the right to voice their opinion - Coach Price and young man with the sign - I think that's great. If we get 65-hundred more people who want to put a sign up, God bless them."

"Everybody has to be respectful to each other," said Jorge Vasquez, Executive Director of UTEP Special Events. "Every fan has to observe the rules of sportsmanship. You've heard the Conference USA announcements over the PA. C-USA makes that attempt at good sportsmanship."

Vasquez said signs in the Haskins Center should not be larger than eight and half inches by 11 inches "so people behind you can see," and no profanity is allowed "because it's a family event," Vasquez said.

After the game was over, as first reported by Miner Rush, Price confronted the fans holding the letters, ripping one away, and reportedly yelling at one of the fans. Price was then escorted away from the group of fans, according to the site.

The fan, who did not want his name used, told ABC-7 on Tuesday: "As soon as we put some of our signs up at beginning of game, security came to us to check our signs, to make sure there was not any profanity. They wanted to make sure there was nothing offensive. And they were fine with it. It was OK with security, but apparently it wasn't OK with Mike Price."

Price, who reportedly still has a home in El Paso, admitted Monday in an interview with the El Paso Times he probably wouldn't repeat his actions from Saturday night if he had it to do all over again.

Price told the Times, "I didn't give it too much thought. If I had thought about it a little longer, I wouldn't have done it." Price went on to tell the Times he felt the sign "showed a great deal of disrespect for our school, our team, our city, our coach."

Floyd's team plays at New Mexico on Thursday. He is expected to speak with the media at 1 p.m. Tuesday prior to the team's departure for Albuquerque.

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