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

Bill King

November 4th, 2010
11:49 am

ARdawg:

No attempt to steal anyone’s thunder. I wasn’t going to write about this at all initially because, like I said, it’s pretty much a nonstory. But the calls for Grantham to be fined or fired were so over the top that I had to comment.

Let's Talk About UGA!

November 4th, 2010
11:51 am

DawgNation,

Mama blows me a kiss every time I leave for my AA meeting.

Anybody want a beer?

Go Dawgs!
Sic ‘em!
Woof! Woof! Woof!

SoCal Dawg

November 4th, 2010
11:52 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.

RxDawg

November 4th, 2010
11:55 am

touche’ Bill and good for you.

g8rswinagn

November 4th, 2010
11:55 am

First time poster here, but can someone explain the difference to me between a coach (leader and example setter) that “in the heat of the moment” does this and a player (younger, less mature, grew up in the digital age) that “in the heat of the moment” texts hatred to his long-time, part-time girlfriend? In both cases, the recipient (kicker or girlfriend) say it’s no big deal. But, in both cases, we, on our high-horses, who have never uttered a single threat in anger, think it ok to condemn.

Derek

November 4th, 2010
11:55 am

Finally an AJC writer with some sense. The rest…well they are on the Fire Mark Richt bandwagon. Why does Jeff and Mark want CMR fired so badly? Why do they constantly slant their columns against CMR and his staff? That is the question that folks should start asking. Jeff and Mark are having a hard time with the reality that CMR will not be fired this year. Listen again guys. CMR is coming back in 2011 whether you like it or not. The AD does not listen to AJC bloggers for his marching orders. He knows that CMR is a fantastic person and coach and that he can and will win again at UGA. Richt is here to stay. I really don’t know why that bothers Jeff and Mark so much. Do you?

saban

November 4th, 2010
11:58 am

Grantham was holding his throat because the red panties he had on were too tight.

What worries me is the kisses that were being thrown between the kicker and Grantham.

That speaks to a bigger problem in the Georgia Football program.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
11:58 am

Thanks for the clarification Bill.

That wasn’t an accusation btw. Agreed, Barnhart was way over the top and Schultz was definitely outside the line IMHO. It is a reflection of where their minds are. Disappointing for a fan really that they would take the position to fine and discipline Grantham for what is essentially, nothing in an effort to be P.C.

Gbal

November 4th, 2010
11:59 am

Bill has called this right… It’s all about hits.

Look at Shultz’s last 6 posts…..

3 recent negative UGA pieces…”Grantams Antics”, “UGA Bowl life down to Tech” & “UGA only proves it can loose a close one”…. total blog hits…. > 4000.

3 other posts ….”Giants, Blackhawks end streak” “ACC in BCS rankings” & “Hawks Right” total hits < 400 hits.

If performance is measured by hits, which it is, this is what the AJC tabloid bloggers (not journalists i mind you) are going to do… write a negative UGA piece!!! This type of AJC reporting does not happen at other schools. You will find them generally supportive of the home team. And this does not help with recruiting and the UGA image.

UGA fans… quit supporting these Shultz, Bradley, and maybe Tony (i hope not) pieces. Go to Athens BH or Georgiadogs.com for your UGA news.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
12:00 pm

Derek

It bothers me as well but, I have resigned myself to the fact we will have to experience at least one more year of Coach Richt

Ed

November 4th, 2010
12:03 pm

I don’t know, when your head coach is 2-7 against a school and moments away from going 2-8, making a “choke” sign is probably not an appropriate gesture.

It looks even worse after the other team’s kicker drills one right down the middle.

If you’re going to make an ass out of yourself, it needs to work.

Ed

November 4th, 2010
12:04 pm

Then again, Grantham works for a man who employs endzone celebrations and Grambling-like uniforms as motivational tools, so maybe he fits right in…

I actually miss Jim Donnan now. Fire Mark Richt.

The DawgsReality

November 4th, 2010
12:05 pm

1. We have a RS Freshman QB who up until sat has played like anything but one. We all had to know that there would be at least one game where he played like a freshman unfortunately it was against the gators.

2. Everyone needs to calm down about the defense. Making the switch from 4-3 to 3-4 is a major adjustment. You can see some glimses of how good the d can be, but we are still experiencing growing pains. Look at Bama’s first season under Saban/Smart when they made the switch. We will be fine here and the future is bright.

3.Richt and Bobo need to quit being so stuborn and trying to live through their QBs. Richt never got a real shot at QB in college and Bobo had an “ok” career. D.Mullen gave everyone the blueprint for beating UF. Run the ball and keep it out of the air. Caleb King has two touches in the UF game and gained 31yds. We should have run the ball until the wheels fell off and then when their d is tired hit them over the top with the passing game. Richt and Bobo SEEM to be more concerned about style points and winning the game with a great passing game that they abandon the run WAAAAYY too early. A.Murray is a great talent at QB, but they need to establish the run and let the passing game come to him as the game progresses rather than forcing it. Even being down 21-7 at half-time, we still had plenty of time to run the ball.

4. The key ingrident that is missing from our coaches (save Granthum)THE KILLER INSTINCT!!! CMR simply let’s off the gas too soon in games. Meyer, Saban, Spurrier all go for the throat once they have you down. Even in the Tenn and Vandy blowouts you could see where he let off the gas towards the end of the game. This is why we struggle with the Vandys and Kentuckys we have given them a sense that they can compete with us because unlike the UFs and Bamas we let them stay in those games WAAAY too long. We need coaching that will go after the jugular early against lesser competition and will motivate the players to smash teams dead in the mouth from start to finish. This “we’ll work harder, we’ll try harder” crap is for the birds.

Go Dawgs!

bruce mac

November 4th, 2010
12:05 pm

duronimo, I basically agree with your UGA perspective. You do however need to look in the mirror my friend, the Gators and their fans are not the most disciplined, classy and respectful bunch, do you think? How many arrests, how many times have the fans booed their team, how many eye gouging type incidents, how many times taunting and dancing, on and on. He who lives in the glass house as they say.

thUGA

November 4th, 2010
12:06 pm

thUGA in da house!!! You better believe the Gators will remember the “choke” next season just like they remembered the “dance” a couple years back. This will come back to bite thUGA next year.

Always does.

Derek

November 4th, 2010
12:07 pm

ARdawg,
Why does having the 4th winningest D1 coach in America leading your team bother you? Can’t get my arms around that thinking. 750 winning percentage. 3 trips to SEC championship in 10 years with 2 wins. You know the stats and you know that the greatest of coaches go through down periods. We are finishing up a 3 year down time. Things will start turning again soon. I hate to think of the chaos that would be UGA football if CMR were fired. #1. It would take YEARS to get recover. #2. You probably have no idea the kind of fan support that CMR has. If you read the blog comments you will get a skewed view of CMR. The situation would be not be good if CMR were to be fired. #3. Does Urban Meyer need to be fired? What about Mack Brown? Are they terrible coaches? They are in a down period. Texas probably will follow with another bad year and Florida likely has two more bad years before they are back. By then Tennessee and UGA will be strong again. #4. Read Loran Smith’s defense of CMR at OnlineAthens.com Great piece. Don’t join Mark and Jeff by your negative rantings against a truly great coach.

Todd

November 4th, 2010
12:09 pm

Bill as a 85 grad and letterman, I suggest to you that UGA looks bad in this situation.

The old koon Dawg Ga fan that you represent, the one that wouldn’t back down to FL on anything, if it meant GA didn’t appear to be classy doing or not, Grantham looked like a clown outside of Athens, Ga.

Do you think a HS coach would be reprimanded for doing the choke hold like Grantham?

Grantham is an overwieght, cussing, blowhard kind of a coach. He made a big mistake and Richt looked bad as well with his “I know he’s not proud…” Richt also said after Kentucky, “I,m so thankful no one was injured coming of the bus and we got out of here domination a fine Kentucky program”

Ga is getting clowned as a football program as well as it should. LSU went in to the Swamp fearless and beat the Gators down. It took Ga as usual a whole half offensively to do nothing, before they started to play with some swagger.

No one fears, or outside of Athens knows Mike Bobo. We know him as a hero for beating Spurrier 1 time.

So continue to koon dawg it, dawg cuss Florida around your buddies, downplay Grantham’s antics, think Richt will do something other than getting blown out on the plains and Ga’s football program getting clowned outside of Athens.

edumacated

November 4th, 2010
12:12 pm

Tony B got 1800 blog hits over “ChokeGate”, including one from me, but you can bet your season tickets that I won’t read another damn article of his again.

Derek

November 4th, 2010
12:13 pm

Fire Urban Meyer for the classless Gator Chomp to UGA fans. How disrespectful for a middle-aged man to be employing such immature antics. Meyer must go. Thats the logic of the fire TG movement. I don’t particularly care for TG or his 3-4. It has cost us a couple of games at least but–grow some, guys and stop being such sissies.

SECWasteManagement

November 4th, 2010
12:13 pm

Thank you Mr. King. Bill is right, Chas Henry is right, Grantham was wrong (now righted), and all is well. On another note, thank you Bill King for making Schultz and Barnhart look like fools!

freelemur

November 4th, 2010
12:19 pm

Pretty much everyone not associated with georgia football believes Todd Grantham was wrong and looks like a fool for what he did. I suppose you could side with one of the most respected sports writers in america, or a blithering idiot of a georgia fan who tries to compare a coach taunting a player during the game with a choke sign to urban meyer doing the gator chomp. The fact is that if Urban Meyer had done a choke sign to Aaron murray before OT (which it turns out, wouldnt have been needed) Georgia fans would be calling for him to be fired, the same way they thought Brandon Spikes should be kicked out of school and arrested for dirty play at the bottom of a pile.
And really, why should grantham react so angrily to being laughed at? I know he’s new but that coaching staff has been a joke for years.

75-76 DAWG

November 4th, 2010
12:21 pm

Bill , good article to end this crap once in for all.
I played baseball until I was 21 and I can tell you that when you get past about 16 years old it doesn’t matter what someone on the other team does or anyone in the stands. If you are good at what you do all you care about is improving and not making a mistake. When you make a mistake the only thing you have to control is your own criticism of yourself or effort for screwing up and you could care less what anyone else does or says.
Henry showed a lot of class in what he said and he is exactly right . This issue was media driven and was a non issue from the beginning. A lot of people that have never played sports on a high enough level to know that something like this may affect an seven or eight year old but a college athlete has no business on the field if he didn’t get over this type mental mind game back when he was no older than fifteen or sixteen.

RiffRaff

November 4th, 2010
12:21 pm

What would Woody Hayes do?

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
12:26 pm

Derek

Take CMR’s body of work in the last 5 years and gauge where the program is right now at this point. I want more SEC championships and I want to be in the hunt for a national title. Even more than that I want to beat Florida with some regularity. For a premier program paying top dollar that isn’t too much to ask. In Richt’s 10 years Georgia hasn’t been a serious contender in the NC race once. When one looks at the past 5 years and the state the program is now, it won’t happen in the next 10 years either. I like Richt. I think he is a great guy but, great guys don’t necessarily win football games. I’m not happy dancing with my sister

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
12:28 pm

freelemur

you are full of kaka

Wally Butts' Designated Stumbler

November 4th, 2010
12:30 pm

Bill, if you’re going to call out TB at least have the cahones to do it by name.

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
12:30 pm

g8rswinagn “First time poster here, but can someone explain the difference to me between a coach (leader and example setter) that “in the heat of the moment” does this and a player (younger, less mature, grew up in the digital age) that “in the heat of the moment” texts hatred to his long-time, part-time girlfriend?”

I would be glad to explain the difference.

Sending a death threat to your ex is a felony that may be labeled a misdemeanor

Hoping someone misses a kick and throws up a choke sign is not illegal and may or may not be labeled as stupid…

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
12:33 pm

g8rswinagn, Is cursing and shooting someone the same since they are both done in the heat of the moment. Your argument is a really bad one….Do you have a mullet and wear jorts??? Just asking

Confused

November 4th, 2010
12:33 pm

Barnhart, Schultz, and Bradley are all poor journalists and were really stupid on this one.

Lake Oconee Dawg

November 4th, 2010
12:37 pm

So what, the choke hold that The DAWGS defensive coach did was not more than a coach calling time-out when the kicker is ready to kick, to “ice” him.
What about a coach that runs onto the field to protest, placement of ball, for a penatly not called, or for a offensive holding call. Why aren’t they put in the paper. Maybe this message will get to Dr. Barnhart, he write about everything that’s negative or something to cause a uproar!!! Go Mark B.

Redneck Jawja fan

November 4th, 2010
12:39 pm

No timthebrave I weigh 300 pounds, drive a beat up pickup truck shop at Kmart and wear a “Damn right Im a Dawg” red T-shirt under my overalls.

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
12:39 pm

Confused

Nah, they’re not. Barnhart and Schultz in an apparent attempt to pick some dingleberries with the PC crowd crowd throw a good guy like Grantham under the bus. Bad move in my opinion. The sad part is, there is plenty to write about so, why are they writing about this? Barnhart and Schultz are both talented guys but you do have to wonder if they have done or played anything competitive outside of the Georgia Press Association yearly, contests

Jeff

November 4th, 2010
12:40 pm

SOOOOO..urban Meyer doing the Gay Chomp to UGA fans…..maybe by the end of the year we can see Urban cryin a river like his sorry excuse for a human being Teblow did in the SEC game. Funny how Urban and Tebow act like they are so God like….what a bunch of crap….

75-76 DAWG

November 4th, 2010
12:42 pm

I’m a 76 alumni and any criticism of Grantham is crazy and just doesn’t have any merit , yet. He had to bring in a complete new defensive scheme that CMR decided would help in recruiting because so many PRO teams use the 3-4 defense and had two months to teach all the defensive players their assignments on ever play that the other team throws at you. This is going to take a few years.
Now this time next year I may be joining you in Grantham’s criticism but for now he get’s my support 100% . I like him and his fiery attitude , at least you know he cares what happens and he doesn’t mind showing it openly.

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
12:43 pm

Redneck Jawja fan, I wasn’t talking to you…So do you agree with
g8rswinagn that doing a choke sign and death threats to your ex are equal or did the jort/mullet comment hit a little too close to home? just asking

Redneck Jawja fan

November 4th, 2010
12:43 pm

Jeff and I suppose you dont think that hypocritical Suntanned Richt is much better? He planned a celebration in 07 that could have turned into a brawl then lied and said he didnt approve of it when CBS’s cameras clearly showed him laughing. What a Bobby Bowden punk clone! Gay chomp to U G A Y, how appropriate.

Redneck Jawja fan

November 4th, 2010
12:45 pm

They are not equal, but Rainey’s ex didnt want charges pressed and how similar was a text similar to Odell Thurman beating his pregnant girl friend?

g8rswinagn

November 4th, 2010
12:45 pm

timethebrave – No, and no. first, cursing is communication, be it verbal, written, or acted out like this coach did. Shooting someone is actual harm to the individual and, as you stated, illegal. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone either action. I just saw it interesting how one was so quickly condemned and the other so quickly excused, when in reality, both were poorly communicated emotions, no more and no less. On to your other questions…no mullet, I keep it high and tight. And, yes, I have an old pair of jean shorts. I wear them when I work in the yard or clean the house, not that I see how either of those topics has anything to do with the conversation, other than it being a weak attempt on your part to cast irrelevant and inaccurate insults.

Redneck Jawja fan

November 4th, 2010
12:47 pm

g8rswinagn give up communicating to these rednecks. The gay bombs are the first thing they throw when they don’t know what to say.

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
12:50 pm

g8rswinagn
Saying time to die bi$# is also ILLEGAL and he was first charged with a felony and then reduced to a misdemeanor….If you don’t get the difference than I can’t help you

Redneck Jawja fan, the difference is that I am not defending Odell Thurman. I didn’t say that beating your pregnant girlfriend is like killing a mosquito that bit you because they both are out of anger….

DIT

November 4th, 2010
12:52 pm

Hey Bill, Can we fine or fire Barnhart and Schultz for whinning?

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
12:52 pm

Redneck Jawja fan, I’m glad you support Rainey…I wouldn’t

freelemur

November 4th, 2010
12:53 pm

ARDawg, Georgia isnt a premier program.

timthebrave

November 4th, 2010
12:55 pm

Comparing Mark Richt celebration, Grantham choke sign, Meyers timeouts and gator chomps are comparing similar things….Death threats and bad sportsmanship are very different things. Rainey might be a good guy and turned his life around but just because the girl didn’t want to prosecute doesn’t make it right or less ILLEGAL

ARdawg

November 4th, 2010
12:56 pm

freelemur

Your kaka is free flowing and never ending. Yes, Georgia is a premier athletic program. You believing otherwise doesn’t make it so.

Redneck Jawja fan

November 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

timthebrave, kind of like you supporting Caleb King for his crap when he threatened to blackmail the girl who he owed money too. Maybe UGA fans should worry more about their program than others since you have led the SEC in arrests the last 5 years. Hey if you are happy with Richt, the rest of the SEC East certainly is.

freelemur

November 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

DIT, the only ones whining are Georgia fans defending Grantham. Everyone else is just pointing out stupid behavior by a stupid coach on a stupid coaching staff.

DIT

November 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

Barnhart & Schultz should start a new blog together.

Call it: “Welcome to mamby Pamby Land!. Check your nads at the door.”

I hope all of this dissatisfaction with Mark Richt goes away.

November 4th, 2010
12:59 pm

From the Daily SEC East Blog.

freelemur

November 4th, 2010
1:00 pm

AR, what makes them a premier program? One championship from 1980? Is Clemson also a premier program? Their 1 title is even more recent.