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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