By Thursday night, Kelly Faris seemed pretty fed up with the questions and second-guessing taking place about what happened at the White House Wednesday when UConn visited the president.
Stefanie Dolson and Kiah Stokes, in a lighthearted gesture President Barack Obama consented to after some playful prodding, flashed the bunny ears sign over the president's head during the formal photo session after the reception to honor the team's national championship.
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Storrs, Mansfield, CT, USA
The photos of the incident inspired a spirited national debate Thursday over the gesture's appropriateness.
"OK, when you look at it in the past tense you say you probably shouldn't do that," Faris said Thursday night. "But honestly, everyone was just kind of joking about it. It was no big deal to anyone. The president was having fun with it and eventually said, 'OK then, just do it.'
"The president is someone who will just walk into a room, especially with a group of athletes, and just keep things lighthearted."
Earlier in the evening, Dolson told SNY.com that she meant no disrespect.
"President Obama's a lighthearted guy," Dolson said. "He was making jokes, cracking jokes at Coach [Geno Auriemma], even during his speech he was joking around. When we posed for the picture he turned around and kind of said, 'Don't go doing those bunny ears as a joke.' Me, Kiah, and Stewie Breanna Stewart] were like, 'Should we do it?' We took the nice pictures and then as a joke we put our fingers behind his ears. I thought it was funny. Overall, I thought it was a good time.
"Obviously there are people that thought it was disrespectful. I meant no disrespect towards the president. I hope he knows that and I hope everyone else knows that. It was a joke. When people see the video and know why I did it, they'll understand that. And people that know me, that know what kind of person I am, know I would never disrespect any person like that."
"I didn't think anything of it until I heard about some of the reaction," Dolson said. "Watching the video, it made me realize why I did it."
On Thursday, Dolson did not deny doing something playful.
"I did indeed [do it]," she told The Courant. "He [Obama] said we wouldn't do it. So we did."
A UConn spokesman told The Courant Thursday that neither Geno Auriemma nor Chris Dailey, UConn's associate coach, was upset with any of the players.
"They were there. They saw and heard everything that went on," the spokesman said. "They are not upset at all."