Georgia’s greatest blunder came from sidelines

By Adam Silverstein
November 2, 2010

Against the Florida Gators in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, on Saturday, Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray threw three interceptions including one in overtime that was a big part of his team losing the game. Georgia also let Florida – with a struggling offense – tear them up for 450 total yards of offense including 231 and four touchdowns on the ground.

However, in an age where actions are brought to light after-the-fact and football players are run through the ringer because someone happened to capture a heat-of-the-moment action on video, we come to you this Tuesday and wonder why coaches are not being held to the same standard.

Exhibit A

The first thing many of you will notice about that video clip is Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt calling a timeout in an attempt to ice and rattle Gators senior punter/kicker Chas Henry. (Hint: It didn’t work, Henry made a 37-yard game-winning field goal just moments later.) But if you look just a bit closer, you will see Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wringing his hands around his own throat and screaming out to Henry, “You’re gonna f’n choke! You’re gonna choke!”

Grantham was so loud and so violent in his motion that Henry appears to have noticed it while on the field preparing for one of the biggest moments of his life.

Exhibit B

Just one year ago, after a video of former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes appeared on YouTube showing him clearly jamming his fingers in Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey‘s facemask but not hurting him in any way during a rough tackle, head coach Urban Meyer addressed the situation and suspended him for a half. The media laughed and ridiculed Meyer for his light punishment leading Spikes to release a statement and then voluntarily sit the entire game on his own accord as not to distract his team.

Remember: In football, if a player makes a great play and celebrates by even motioning his hand under his neck in any manner, it’s a penalty.

Yet more than 48 hours have passed since Grantham, a leader for young men in an amateur sport, gave this clearly obscene gesture and not only has no apology been provided (even simply to his employer – the University of Georgia), the team’s coaches and school administration have failed to address the situation and refused comment.

Where are the columns of outrage from Paul Finebaum, Mike Bianchi, Dennis Dodd and Gregg Doyel? Why haven’t Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon whined about Graham’s actions on Pardon the Interruption?

Hypocritical? Yes. Surprising? No.

Grantham didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t put his hands on an opposing player or hold up the middle finger or anything of the sort. Nevertheless, he should be held accountable for his actions – an adult in a position of authority should know better no matter how excitable and important the moment.

No one is calling for Grantham to be fired or even suspended. He made a mistake – mistakes happen. People lose their cool. It is understandable. But at least have the decency to stand up like a man and apologize when you’re wrong. If you ask that from a 21-year old college senior, it is the least you can expect from a 44-year-old coach.

UPDATE: A response from Richt…though not nearly what one would expect. “I’ll just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do, so I think that [the choke sign] was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

UPDATE II: Tuesday evening, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Grantham who appeared to halfheartedly express regret about making the gesture but refused to provide any sort of apology or admission of guilt. “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” Grantham said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.” Grantham also told the paper he spoke to Richt and athletic director Greg McGarity about the incident. Asked whether or not he owes an apology to Henry, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.” Great example to set for your students, Todd.

29 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    This makes me want to puke. I shouldn’t be surprised since he’s employed by King Douche himself, Mark Richt – but come on, man. Different story completely if it’s a UGA player, but a coach?

  2. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I agree he should at least apologize….if it’s a player or grad assistant who cares but a DC is pretty embarrasing….I certainly would not expect or want that from any of our coaches

  3. SaraGator says:

    It’s amazing that Richt seems oblivious in the video. But then what do you expect from a head coach who orders the stomping in the sidelines ala ’07 and then lies about it.

  4. brlgator says:

    how can we get this over to chris low the espn blogger?

  5. gator_john says:

    If you watch the SunSports replay, they have a different angle and you can really see Grantham making these gestures. Just pathetic.

  6. G8rbait says:

    You stay classy Georgia.

  7. E-Pain says:

    Just showed up on SEC Blog Lunch Links

  8. Richard says:

    Who cares what a half-ass coach from Georgia does. 18-3. That tells the whole story.

  9. MSB says:

    Very interesting situation to me. This is a chance for the new AD to set the tone for the program moving forward. There have been many players arrests (UF is no stranger to that), the previous AD was hammered with panties on his head (don’t you know who he is, yep a complete dumba**), and now the coaches are openly taunting opposing players during their downward spiral of a season. McGarity now us your chance, but know this, either way you are setting a tone for your term: 1) you do nothing and this becomes the status quo or 2) take a stand and be the leader that UGA needs. Make no mistake, I hate the dawgs more than the rest, but Mcgarity your were a big part if Gator Nation for a while. I wish you success 51 weeks a years, but the bulldogs can got to hell (and they are half way there).

  10. npgator says:

    I love it! It just makes the game and Henry’s kick that much sweeter!

  11. JW says:

    Are you sure he was yelling and gesturing at Henry? Could be he was trying to talk himself into choking himself out after watching HIS defense give up 31 points to a team that could only score 7 against Mississippi St. “Your defense sucks!! For that you’re going to fu**n choke! You’re going to choke!!”

  12. Gatorbuc15 says:

    This is just more proof that shows how un-classy Georgia really is.
    But Georgia fans think that we’re un-classy for noticing this:
    http://www.alligatorarmy.com/2010/11/1/1786231/stay-classy-georgia

  13. zurbo says:

    As much as we want to think this is a big deal, it’s not. Who really cares? Its a coach trying to get into the head of an opposing player…it didnt work and we beat their asses again. This is nit picky

  14. Mr2Bits says:

    Sent an email to ESPN, we’ll see if they pick it up and run with it.

  15. Tony M says:

    What about the Georgia player’s (the center?) flagrant elbow-shot to the head/facemask of the Gator ball carrier (who was stopped and defenseless at the time) that sent his helmet flying off???? Can somebody capture and post that vid?

  16. UF_84 says:

    Come on is this really worth making a big deal over? We just gutted out a great win against a hated rival in a season on the line game. Focus on that, not some moron Georgia coach. Like Richard said 18 – 3 since 1990. Scoreboard baby!!
    Is there any truth to the rumor that after he made the kick Chas grabed his crotch and told Grantham to “choke on this”?

  17. Tanner says:

    Here’s a link to the elbow from Shawn Williams to Omarius Hines and the subsequent TD.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0357VcZfmE

  18. Tim says:

    Love the CBS audio that goes along with this…”You can tell that was coming” HA!

  19. UF_84 says:

    Adam if the rumor is true, way to go Chas.

  20. Mr2Bits says:

    Just saw it on the final burn from Jim Rome’s show……bet some noise gets made now.

    Wonder if it was me that caused them to air that…….I bet it was!

  21. John S says:

    I like this kind of stuff. It probably helped Chaz. Better to kick angry than scared. Hopefully Chaz will keep this in his mind every time he heads onto the field.

    The elbow to Hines was crazy too. Right in the middle of the field . The refs seemed to keep their hands in their pockets in the second half. It really helped GA get back in the game especially with runs to the edge.

    This stuff is just gravy now.

  22. joe says:

    Adam – any facts on why Dowling was released from the program?

  23. joe says:

    gesture was talked about on Around the Horn, I’m sure on PTI too

  24. O-town Gator says:

    I’m even more surprised at the lack of a response from SEC commish Mike Slive over Grantham’s gesture. Seems as though Slive jumped all over head coaches who had criticized the calls from the officials at the drop of a hat last year, but he hasn’t said anything about this.

  25. El Meester says:

    It’s now on the front page of ESPN.com

  26. armygator says:

    I tend to agree with zurbo. The coach is wrong for doing itespecially being a coach, but it really isn’t that big of a deal to me. All of the different shows airing it and talking about it are sensationalizing it and doesn’t mean people really care. ESPN, and the like, put it on because they can make it draw in viewers. Negative news draws more attention. If he broke a rule, like you said in the post that players get penalized for making the choking gesture, penalize him and move on.

    Now the elbow to Hines, on the other hand, should have some sort of repercussions.

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