(Tuesday, 8 p.m.: This blog has been updated throughout, now that Georgia coach Mark Richt has confirmed that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gave the choke sign and shouted something well south of the King’s English at Florida kicker Chas Henry Saturday. Just added: Grantham quotes)
This isn’t about football. This isn’t about how we’re just too politically correct, or about how some of us just aren’t tough enough, or how we’re all just picking on the poor Georgia Bulldogs because, you know, that’s just what the leftist, evil media does.
This is about right and wrong. A 44-year-old college coaching grabbing his throat multiple times and shouting, “You’re gonna [bleepin'] choke,” at the opponent’s 21-year-old kicker?
Folks, that’s wrong. It’s over the line. It’s not even a close call.
Todd Grantham shouting “Choke” at the opposing player doesn’t make him or his team any tougher or better. It just makes him look classless. The Georgia defensive coordinator owes everybody an apology, from the Bulldogs’ program to Florida kicker Chas Henry, the target of Grantham’s sideline antics in Jacksonville.
Dogs coach Mark Richt confirmed Tuesday what had become obvious Monday, when he was unavailable for comment. Grantham gave the choke sign to Henry multiple times and he was wrong for doing so. The picture above tells part of the story. The two videos below tell more of it. In short, Grantham — who can be a little on the excitable side, which in itself isn’t a bad thing — let his competitive spirit push him over the line of what’s right and wrong. He grabbed his throat four times while the Florida kicker lined up for a 37-yard field goal attempt in overtime.
Henry, a native of Dallas, Ga., acknowledged seeing and hearing Grantham but he made the kick anyway, giving the Gators a 34-31 win.
The above screen grab from the Florida sports cable network “Sun Sports” showed Grantham on the sideline. Below are two videos:
VIDEO No. 1: Here is Henry’s post-game interview with CBS when he references what he saw when he looked to the Georgia sideline during the timeout. Quote: “Some of their coaches on the sideline were giving me a little grief, saying I was gonna choke.”)
VIDEO No. 2: Here’s one view of Grantham going through his motions before the kick, via Sports by Brooks.)
It was at about 6:30 p.m. Monday night when Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun sent a note out on Twitter: “Just checked the CBS broadcast again. Todd Grantham grabs his neck and says ‘You’re gonna bleepin’ choke. You’re gonna choke’ to Henry.”
By then, it was clear that Richt had a mess to clean up, and for once it had nothing to do with his players and the Athens-Clarke County police department
As I wrote earlier, it would be understandable — even expected — that Grantham would think, “Choke!” or “Miss it!” in his head. It wouldn’t even be surprising if a Georgia player yelled, “Choke!” or grabbed his neck. But that’s not something a college coach should be doing, and Richt acknowledged that.
Grantham himself expressed regret about the incident, saying after Tuesday’s practice: “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment. I wish the situation hadn’t happened.”
Earlier in the day, Richt also referenced that “emotions run high,” adding: “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do. I think that 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.”
Not the first thing this year the Dogs are trying to learn from.