Once upon a time, a football game was a place where competition trumped all and a rivalry was a rivalry. Political correctness wasn’t a trend and the bitter hatred between teams was part of the draw of the competition.
The University of Oklahoma beat Ohio State University 31-16 on Saturday in a rematch from 2016 where Ohio State embarrassed the Sooners at home.
Immediately proceeding OSU’s 45-24 victory in Norman, their players trotted out to midfield and held up a sign reading “Basic Defense” to further verify a statement made by a team member prior to the 2016 matchup.
Baker Mayfield returned the favor with his own version of an insult by running the OU flag around the field and ultimately planting it in the middle of OSU’s field.
But of course, someone’s feelings got hurt and word got around that Mayfield needed to apologize for what he did. More bluntly stated, their feelings were hurt, they started crying, and Mayfield had to apologize for it.
Why? My question is why?
It is football. Learn how to take a loss and accept the consequences…to a certain extent of course. Trash talk is the foundation of sports. Little petty antics like this are too. It’s all a part of the game. Mayfield’s apology wasn’t necessary. An apology for an apology is almost in order if you ask me.
Following last season’s debacle in Norman, all fingers were pointed at Mayfield. As a typical 22-year-old college student, he remembered that, held on to it and used as motivation for this year’s matchup. He wanted to prove people wrong. He did that and after he accomplished his goal, he reciprocated the insult, which was simply payback.
The objective of sports is to have fun, isn’t it? In it’s purest form, it’s supposed to be fun. Yes, sportsmanship is very important but knowing the prior history on this matchup, one should understand why Mayfield felt the need to plant the flag.
For Ohio State faculty, fans and whoever else was offended by this, there’s an easy way to fix the problem: Plant Baker Mayfield in the turf, on your home field and you won’t have to worry about him prancing around your field planting Sooner flags.
This latest situation just builds the rivalry between these two teams. Assuming both of these teams have a good chance of winning their conference, it’d be hard to believe that ESPN isn’t pushing for a best-out-of-three rematch in the College Football Playoffs.