Gator kicker has the right idea on choke flap: ‘It’s ridiculous’

Enough with all the manufactured outrage over Todd Grantham's sideline gesture. (Associated Press)

Enough with all the manufactured outrage over Todd Grantham's sideline gesture. (Associated Press)

There’s something you have to understand about the whole “Chokegate” thing. It’s a slow news week. Idaho State is coming to town and writing about that isn’t going to generate many page views.

A sports editor asked me the other day what I thought of the Todd Grantham choke-gesture flap.

“It’s a nonstory,” I said.

“Yeah,” he replied, “but it’s a great online story.”

Sort of like in the old days of newspapering, when journalists would draw a line between a real story and a tabloid story.

And so various bloggers and columnists in search of stirring up their online readers have expounded on sportsmanship and leadership. A couple of have seemingly gotten really outraged over Grantham’s gesture, writing thundering sermons saying he should have to apologize, be fined or, as one overheated Kentucky writer went so far as to suggest, lose his job.

Let’s be clear about this: It wasn’t Grantham’s finest moment. But it’s the kind of rivalry game where emotions run high, for coaches as well as players, and things are said and done that in polite society (which football isn’t) would be considered rude or immature. Like Urban Meyer gator-chomping toward Georgia fans after the game, for instance. I don’t know what Mark Richt said to Grantham, but a good response would have been, “Todd, let’s try to keep this on an adult level.”

Still, the bottom line, ironically, comes from Chas Henry, the game-winning Florida kicker who was the target of Grantham’s pre-kick taunt. Henry told the Palm Beach Post he took it as part of the game, just the same as Richt calling a timeout to try and “ice” the kicker — as coaches traditionally do. Henry’s response? He laughed and took his helmet off and blew a kiss to Grantham.

But Henry told the Post he does not think Grantham needs to apologize for anything.

“I’ve heard people, ‘He should have apologized.’” Henry said. “It’s in the middle of the game. It’s an intense game. It’s one of the most intense rivalries in college football. Stuff like that, it’s not even on the field. It has nothing to do with it. It’s just football.

“I think it’s ridiculous what people are trying to say that he should have to apologize for it or be fined or anything. He’s a great coach. I look at his record. It’s just an intense game.”

Enough said. Or, really, quite a bit more than enough.

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291 comments Add your comment

BlazerDawg

November 4th, 2010
10:37 am

Hurt Kurbstreit

November 4th, 2010
10:39 am

First? I think the kicker should be suspended for blowing a kiss at Grantham.

Dawg_Mike

November 4th, 2010
10:39 am

But it got Tony B what he wanted – over 1800 blog hits.
Mission accomplished.

BlazerDawg

November 4th, 2010
10:40 am

also i agree with chas on this subject, i don’t think a coach should be doing it, but it is not a big a deal as a lot of people are making it…i know i was sitting in the stands in jacksonville giving him the choke sign…part of the rivalry!

Hurt Kurbstreit

November 4th, 2010
10:47 am

It’s much ado about nothing. Coach Richt shoudn’t answer any more questions about it. It’s the intensity of football.

JRabDawg

November 4th, 2010
10:48 am

I wouldn’t even print out Tony B’s blog and feed it to my dog

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
10:50 am

Gee Bill,

One might think you are trying to steal some of Barnhart’s thunder or flagellation. Why did you write about a “non-story”? The more attention this non-incident garners the more the Gomer’s like Tony Barnhart will try to milk it for.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
10:54 am

Grantham’s action was not a display of class. I think Grantham will tell you it wasn’t meant to be. Chas Henry shows class in recognizing it for what it was “football”, instead of taking the low ground like many of the FL (and GT) fans along with Tony the Gomer.

Dawg Man

November 4th, 2010
10:57 am

I think it was not something he should have done as a coach because he is partly in charge of player discipline. At the same time it is a non story because everyone knew emotions were running high and Tony Barnhart (who I like a lot and agree with most of the time) really went too far with his critique.

Glock19

November 4th, 2010
10:57 am

Erk would be proud of Grantham. Strap it on and man up.

They who can do no wrong

November 4th, 2010
10:58 am

Bill King, the world’s biggest UGA apologist.

Buckhead Dawg

November 4th, 2010
10:59 am

Hate to applaud a Gator, but that kicker has got the right idea on this situation.

ga gator

November 4th, 2010
10:59 am

ARdawg, I like most UF fans agree with Henry. As far as Urban giving UGA fans the chomp; most of the UGA fans left as soon as the game was over. Urban was on the field with the celebration until the very end and was simply replying to some Dawg fans who purposely stayed around near the Florida team entrance at the stadium to taunt him and Florida. Should he have ignored the Georgia fans? Probably, but it certainly was not uncalled for. Let’s let this go, it is football and we all have more important things to deal with in life. Just think about Miss State in what they are dealing with with a death of a teammate.

Dawg Man

November 4th, 2010
11:00 am

Bottom Line— There are all kinds of unclassy things that happen at the bottom of the pile, in the coaches office, on the practice field, at game time, and don’t even get me started with unclassy, unethical “business” of meat market recruiting that goes on every day!

Dawg Man

November 4th, 2010
11:02 am

If you love college football and want to know more about recruiting, I invite you to read Meat Market. It’s a great great book about what really goes on in recruiting. What goes on is a lot worse than what Grantham did Saturday.

Dawg Man

November 4th, 2010
11:02 am

Still, not Grantham’s finest day as Bill King has stated.

Tony Barnfat

November 4th, 2010
11:03 am

they are who we thought dey is

Tony Barnfart

November 4th, 2010
11:04 am

dey isnt who we thought is wuz

Dawg Man

November 4th, 2010
11:04 am

I couldn’t have said it better GA GATOR. I agree completely.

UGA man here, class of 71 & 73

November 4th, 2010
11:07 am

UGA choked. TG got it all wrong. WE choked andAaron Murray led the parade.

I am sick and tired of losing to Florida. Back in Eric Zeier’s day we were on their 4 and Eric hit TE Randy McMichaels twice in the hands in the end zone in a driving rain and if caught, UGA wins that game and too many other drops like Terence Edward’s WIDE UPEN slant pass from Green on their 40 that would have gone in with NO GATORS around him. He scores and UGA wins. WE CHOKE ABOUT 50% of our losses ………..like they did in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I recall Heisman Spurrier’s LOSS to UGA> How about that??? UGA owned them because of attitude.

No, until we get a coach like MSU’s Dan Mullins, who for two years in a row battled and almost won and did win vs FL this year, I am done with my alma mater and football. Getting too old to care but UGA should win vs Florida or ALabama or ANY SEC school 45-55% of the time.

Richt cannot/will not get it done. Come post Florida 2011,we will be having this same discussion IF he does not resign.

McGarity ……….. make it happen right after the Auburn loss ………let him coach vs GT and then get a new man.

GO Dogs.

ga gator

November 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Dawg Man most UGA fans are like you; honest, respectful, passionate about their Dawgs and at the end of the day hard working people who love college sports. Kudo’s and beat Auburn and TECH!!

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:07 am

ga gator

Completely agree. Was Meyer out of line? Absolutely not, it’s football and I don’t care that his is a coach. Was he wrong calling the time outs and kicking the field goal 2 years ago? Absolutely not, it’s football. Doesn’t matter that they are coaches, they can get more emotional than fans and should. Houston Nutt was called to the carpet several years ago as coach of the Hogs for doing the upside down Hook’em Horns sign after Arkansas beat the top ranked horns. Texas fans were livid but, the upside down horn sign has been a beloved Arkansas symbol dating back 50 years. Arkansas most hated team has been and will probably always be Texas. Guess what, that’s football

Athens= God's Country

November 4th, 2010
11:10 am

THANK YOU CHAS HENRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will someone please forward this to Schultz and Bradley! I would actually like to hear about the next opponent instead of the taunting that everyone who has played the game knows takes place.

Happy Dicks

November 4th, 2010
11:13 am

Right on Bill…..I watched Erk Russell walk around for four years with a rubber workout shirt on that had F%#@ Tech written across it—only it didn’t say F%#@. Time to move on.

hornblowermg

November 4th, 2010
11:14 am

if you have ever in your life played any competitive game, you have screamed at your competition at the very end when you know that he will beat you or let you live another day, “DOOOONNNN”TTT CHOKE !”. and we will all probably do it again. give’em hell, Todd.

Athens= God's Country

November 4th, 2010
11:16 am

Willie Martinez never would have done something like this (hold Florida to under 49 points)

Athens= God's Country

November 4th, 2010
11:18 am

crossdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:20 am

The choke story pales when compared to “UGA gets tail kicked again in Jax”

jtdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:22 am

ga gator -

Enough said. I have absolutely no problem with Meyer taunting fans with a chomp that are taunting him. It’s what makes this rivalry so heated and fun. I have no problem with what Grantham did. Probably shouldn’t act this way, but so what? Heat of the moment, into the game, Chas took it the right way and laughed it off.

Grantham goes Woody Hayes? Fire him, ban him from NCAA and throw him in jail. This is just competition and the silly overraction is a bigger embarrasment.

I like the passion, just try to set a better example. Just yell at him to choke next time :)

ATL XMAN

November 4th, 2010
11:22 am

richts not going anywhere uga grad 71 +73 so either jump of the uga bandwagon you have been on or stay on board and support UGA and all the coaches on the football team. they know more about college football than you ever will and unlike you , the new AD knows Coach richt is the guy for the job.

Pago Pago Dawg

November 4th, 2010
11:23 am

I think we all pretty much agree with UGA man 71 & 73…

Sojourner

November 4th, 2010
11:27 am

Tony Barnhart’s blog condemning Grantham is a classic. Tony writes the truth, not apologies for UGA’s pathetic behavior.

Check out Tony’s blog here:
http://blogs.ajc.com/barnhart-college-football/2010/11/03/grantham-should-be-suspended-and-fined-now/

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:29 am

I agree with UGA man and also ATL XMAN is a poser or drinking too much kool-aid

Gbal

November 4th, 2010
11:31 am

It is a slow week for all at the AJT (Atlanta Journal & Tabloid). I have tried to train myself to read only Barnhart and King pieces and go to the Athens Banner and http://www.georgiadogs.com for my other UGA news and info. The ABH is definately more neutral reporting and all press confrences can be viewed in entirity on the georgiadogs.com site.

You will find that all these tabloid writers (MB & JS) are doing is taking press confrence material and putting a negative spin on it. Best to hear the Q&A directly from the coaches without all the tabloid spin. Join me dawg fans and boycot MB and JS among others….

I will give TB one more chance. We all have an occasional bad day. One more chance.

Jailbird

November 4th, 2010
11:31 am

Fire him [Grantham], ban him from NCAA and throw him in jail.

I agree, it’s the right thing to do.

ga gator

November 4th, 2010
11:32 am

jtdawg, even the choke sign is ok. If Tony and Shultz ever actually broke a sweat and played the sport they wouldn’t think anything at all. Far worse goes on at practice and in the locker room. If this offends Tony and Shultz, maybe they should be covering youth soccer.

Red Rules

November 4th, 2010
11:35 am

I really don’t think Eric Zeier and Randy McMichael played on UGA in the same decade dude. They were years apart!!

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
11:38 am

I don’t mind Grantham giving the choke sign, Henry blowing a kiss, or Meyer doing the chomp. How is it different from the non stop trash talking going on the field, in the stands, or on blogs. It’s part of the rivalry thing and people not from the south don’t get it……Fan is short for fanatic and the coaches are some of the biggest fans of their teams….Go dawgs!

Dawg_Mike

November 4th, 2010
11:38 am

Oh god…here we go again. Why dont we just cut and paste Tony’s 1800 blog hits here and be done with it ?

azdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:38 am

The choke is old news. GA ought to get a new DC. Grantham hasn’t done anything better than Martinez and we’re still giving up too many points and yardage to win games. Get manny diaz from MSU.

Richt should rest his starters vs Idaho St so they are well rested for AU game. Be like a bye week. Would not want to risk losing starters to injury w/a huge game coming up next week. Let ‘em sit and give the younger players some experience. That includes the QB.

ga gator

November 4th, 2010
11:38 am

Amen timthebrave.

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
11:40 am

I just wish the dawgs would let their actions do the talking. Even though we played good FLA got the last laugh again. I can still talk about their mullets and jean shorts….Go dawgs!

Typical Gator Fan

November 4th, 2010
11:41 am

We love “choke gate” it takes the attention off the the whole Chris Rainey story.

duronimo

November 4th, 2010
11:41 am

It’s a pretty funny and isolated incident actually. What’s not funny is the general lack of control and discipline that marks Richt’s teams ON the field. They talk, taunt, get in the opposing player’s faces
after almost every play. Today’s AJC mentions that T.King acutally researches his opponents so
he can be ready to “talk” trash during the game. Who can forget the Georgia player facing the Florida
bench doing the exaggerated “gator bite” gesture … and we were losing! They remind me of the Miami teams of the past.

It’s little wonder that off field problems exist when the lack of control is so publicly apparent. Sports
and competition have always been considered a microcosm of life — preparing its participants for
real life. This is entirely lost with Richt’s program. There is no respect for the game, for themselves
or for the school. My reference to Miami proves that it will take years for Georgia to recover from
this.
this mess.

jtdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:42 am

timthebrave, because we hurt Sojourner’s fragile sensibilities.

The BIG BAD MAN TOLD ME TO CHOKE wahhhhhhh

The Harsh, Ugly Reality that is UGA Football...

November 4th, 2010
11:43 am

Enter your comments here

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:43 am

azdawg

If it were up to me all of the starting prospects fpr next year would be starting the Ida St game. Especially Mason

jtdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:43 am

Chris Rainey is a done story.

Most classy fans don’t approve either, but move along with it. He’s back and if he stays in good graces and learns his lesson he is going nowhere.

They still won….

radly dawg

November 4th, 2010
11:45 am

I’ve been a dog fan since 1959…been to tons of games, bowls, and red/black games. I like Richt’s character and he is a good man. However, he’s made about $30,000,000 in the last ten years. I think that should buy more than we have enjoyed…especially over the past five years. It’s time for new blood!!! I catch myself feeling like UGA Man….maybe I’ll fish and hunt more…and stop wasting my time on million dollar coaches and spoiled, lawless, over-rated college football players. The game just ain’t the same anymore….nor will it be!!!!!!!!!! It’s all over-rated, over paid, and unfulfilling!!
I’d say Go Dawgs……but I do believe they are already gone….long gone!!!!

Radly Dawg

SoCal Dawg

November 4th, 2010
11:47 am

What makes this such a great rivalry is HATE and the hate and rivalry just went up a few notches. If Meyer dropped trou and mooned the entire UGA section I would be on here calling him classless… but deep down inside I’d be proud that we had one off the greatest rivalries of all time. The only thing that would make it a better rivalry is if the DAWGS started winning some games.