Tony Barbee tweeted a laughing emoji during Auburn’s blowout loss to Clemson on Sunday. That much is true.
But the Wildcats assistant coach and former Auburn head coach denies that it had anything to do with the fate of his former team. During a media availability prior to Kentucky’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kansas State, Barbee attempted to set the record straight.
“My emoji had nothing to do with basketball. I wasn’t watching games. It had nothing to do with basketball or any university, so I don’t know why people took it that way,” Barbee told SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker on Wednesday.
In case you missed it, here’s an image of the tweet that had Auburn basketball fans upset:
Barbee did not indicate the specific nature of the non-basketball tweet, but his denial is out there for consumption.
Bruce Pearl, who replaced Barbee at Auburn and successfully led the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003, took exception to the tweet during an interview with Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis on Tuesday.
“I’m smiling and laughing, too,” Pearl told Travis. “We just won the SEC and made the NCAA Tourney. LMAO.”
Pearl was hardly the only Auburn person upset, as many Tigers fans were vocally critical of their former coach after the tweet went viral on Sunday evening. Barbee, who finished his tenure at Auburn (2010-14) with a 49-75 overall record, has a message for those people as well.
“I think people need to move on,” Barbee said about the reaction from Auburn, according to Tucker. “I’ve moved on, so I think everybody else needs to move on, because it had nothing to do with that place or that basketball game.”
It will be interesting to see if Pearl has any further comment on this subject now that Barbee has issued a public denial.