Navy's football coach is backpedaling after taking aim at the CIA -- over the Midshipmen's 2020 schedule.
Veteran coach Ken Niumatalolo apologized on Tuesday after complaining that the "Pentagon" was to blame for what he deemed an unfairly heavy workload for Navy compared to rival Air Force.
Earlier in the week, it was announced Air Force would play only two games this season because of the coronavirus crisis.
Navy has 11 games on the schedule this season, while rival Army will play 12. The three academies play each other every season, with the winner of the round robin claiming the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.
Niumatalolo was furious at the discrepancy, suggesting the Falcons had an easier path to taking home the prized award -- currently held by the Naval Academy -- owing to their lighter schedule.
Though he appeared to have a reasonable gripe about the difference in schedule, the former Hawaii Rainbows quarterback took things in a strange direction on Monday when he called out the Department of Defense.
"Where else in the country would you play for something of value, and everybody's schedules are not the same?" Niumatalolo said, according to ESPN. "This is the No. 1 thing we fight for every year -- the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. We're playing a full schedule. You got Air Force playing just two games? I don't think those people care.
"This is above us. This is guys at the Pentagon making decisions. I have no idea where they're getting their data from. They didn't get it from me, so they're not getting any football data. Like I said, nobody asked me."
Niumatalolo continued to suggest the unprecedented scheduling was the work of bureaucrats who don't understand sports.
"To me, those guys making decisions have never played football in their life. They don't know how physical football is. We're not playing croquet or anything. Football is a tough, physical game. People made decisions on this that have no clue what they're doing or talking about with sports. They made this a military deal. It's not a military deal."
But by Monday night, the 13-year veteran coach had changed his tune.
"I should not have said some of the stuff I said, and I'm sorry I did," Niumatalolo told the Capital Gazette. "The Pentagon has nothing to do with this, and it was wrong of me to suggest that was the case. ... I sometimes get myself in trouble by speaking my mind. This was an instance when I should have kept my thoughts to myself."
Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk contradicted the coach's bizarre claim, saying the arrangement was agreed upon by all three academies, according to the Baltimore Sun.