During the latest ESPN 30 for 30 special, “The U Part 2,” former Miami Hurricanes tight end Jeremy Shockey, while discussing a fight between his team and the Florida Gators on Bourbon Street ahead of the 2001 Sugar Bowl, quoted then-Florida head coach Steve Spurrier as conceding that the Hurricanes beat the Gators both on and off the field during the week, which ended with Miami pulling off a 37-20 victory.
“I remember their head coach, Spurrier, coming up to me after the game saying, ‘You guys definitely deserved it. We got our ass beat off the field and on,'” Shockey said.
Well, suffice to say, Spurrier was none too pleased with that retelling of history and made it a point to set the record straight during his 2014 Independence Bowl press conference on Friday. (By the way, South Carolina will take on Miami on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.)
“While I got your attention here, let me say something. We’ve all been watching this University of Miami 30 for 30 on ESPN. OK. They won the game. They beat us fair and square. But a Miami player on that team quoted me as saying, ‘We got our ass kicked off the field and we got our ass kicked in the game.’
“And I didn’t say that. I wouldn’t be that stupid to ever say anything like that. Now a scuffle happened sometime earlier in the week on Bourbon Street. Nobody got arrested, nobody got hurt, nobody got suspended for the game. To me, it was history.
“But for some reason, some people – some teams or whoever – they like to glamorize fighting. Our teams don’t fight. I don’t think I’ve ever had a team in a brawl, not that I can remember.
“But I certainly didn’t say that. And that 2000 Florida team was one of my favorite teams. Those guys won the SEC after getting clobbered by Mississippi State earlier in the year and then came back and won it.
“So, I just wanted to say that. I did not say what is attributed to me by a Miami player. Let’s get the record straight. … They quoted a player. They never called me and said, ‘Did you say that?’ But that’s not the first time in life somebody put a quote on me that I didn’t say. I did say most of them but not that one.”
Approximately 40 players were involved in the fight, which took place at 11:15 p.m. in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It was referred to as a “scuffle” by Spurrier and “minor verbal confrontation” by Miami head coach Butch Davis. Most believe it began with Al Blades pouring a drink over the head of Reche Caldwell. Alex Brown, Andra Davis, Jabar Gaffney, Kenyatta Walker and Gerard Warren were some of the best-known Florida players involved.
Brown also took exception to how “The U Part 2” portrayed the fight. “There is always two sides to the story…” he wrote on Instagram when the program aired. “But yeah I caught one of those punches on Bourbon Street that night at the 2001 Sugar Bowl.”
Added Brown on Twitter: “I got hit but we knocked a few a them boyz out too… Trust me… The whole story isn’t being told.”
Spurrier spoke briefly about the incident with the Associated Press back in 2000.
“You’ve got to get a guy who wasn’t a Gator or Hurricane to tell you what happened,” he said. “All we can do is say what we know. I’m sure they have their side of the story.”
Video of Spurrier’s comments via The State: