Nov 12, 2013 08:34 AM EST
'President Wasn’t Drunk During Halftime Speech,' Michigan Officials Say
The University of Michigan officials have come forward in support of the school's president, Mary Sue Coleman. They have denied all speculations and allegations about Coleman being drunk while addressing the audience during halftime of the Michigan v. Nebraska game, Saturday.
Audience speculated that the president might have been drinking before giving the speech at the Michigan stadium as she slurred.
Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said that Coleman was not intoxicated at the time. The reason why Coleman slowed down her speech is because of microphone feedback and not because of alcohol or health related issue.
"It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the audio distortion. She, absolutely, had not been drinking alcohol," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "I want to underscore that point in the strongest possible way."
Coleman made the speech on the occasion of her commemoration at halftime in Saturday's game. She was being honored for her 12 years service to the Ann Arbor school. Coleman was presented with a football jersey emblazoned with No. 12. She is planning to retire in July.
After listening to her speech, audience began wondering as to why she sounded slurred. Some of them thought she was intoxicated and others thought it to be due to a medical issue.
"We were trying to do something thoughtful to honor President Mary Sue Coleman for her service to the university and athletic department and unfortunately the sound system backfired on us," athletic director Dave Brandon said in the statement.
"We rarely use live wireless microphones at Michigan Stadium because of the way that sound is distributed; it travels from the north scoreboard across the field to the south. There was significant wind that caused the sound to be delayed and distorted and created feedback during President Coleman's speech."
Fitzgerald said that Coleman was not used to a wireless microphone that was provided to her during the speech.
"She struggled with the feedback and tried to adjust to the sound delay and the reverberation by slowing down her words," Fitzgerald said.
Defending the president's behavior, Fitzgerald said that Coleman was not drinking before giving the speech. Instead, she was attending alumni and fundraising events where alcohol was not served. Plus, no alcohol was served in her luxury box at the stadium.
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