A day after young San Antonio Spurs fan Patrick Gonzalez made the news for having a picture of former Florida Gators forward Matt Bonner shaved into the back of his head and being sent home from school for doing so, the player he honored responded both to the gesture and the controversy surrounding it.
Asked if he thought Gonzalez’s haircut was a big deal in terms of the distraction that his teacher and principal claimed it was causing, Bonner questioned whether or not simply moving the student’s seat to the back of the class would have remedied the situation.
“Otherwise probably the nicest thing a fan has ever done for me is ruined,” he said. “Before ‘Hairgate,’ the best thing a fan has done for me is clap for me at a game.”
“It’s a very flattering portrait of myself. I’ve never considered myself a controversial figure but apparently it’s too distracting and too much,” Bonner continued. “I’m not going to condemn the school. If anybody’s in support of education and academics, it’s myself with my mom being a teacher and my academic success. But like I said, they could have just moved him to the back of the class.”
Bonner is a two-time Verizon Academic All-America of the Year for men’s basketball who finished his University of Florida career with a 3.96 grade point average. His mother has been an elementary school teacher her entire professional life and is coming out of a three-year retirement just to go back to teaching next year.
Gonzalez was sent home early from school on Wednesday and told that he would be suspended if he did not alter his hair before returning to class on Thursday. He complied with his school’s request and shaved the back of his head.
It was not all bad news for Bonner’s red-headed fan, however, as the former Gators standout provided Gonzalez and his mother with a pair of tickets to Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers and promised to meet them before the game.
“Keep supporting us redheads in the NBA,” Bonner said referencing Gonzalez after practice on Thursday. “Keep working on your game and maybe someday I’ll be shaving you in the back of my head.”
San Antonio topped Los Angeles 105-88 though Bonner finished just 1-for-3 from the field and 0-for-2 from downtown with two points, two rebounds and a steal in 13 minutes.
Photo Credit: Grace White, KAAB FOX 29