Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, left, celebrates with teammate Jordan Thomas after the Sooners beat Ohio State on Saturday. ASSOCIATED PRESS
We have a new contender for the dumbest, most cooked-up controversy of the year.
Baker Mayfield Flag-gate.
As you may have heard, the electric Oklahoma quarterback planted a Sooners flag at midfield after his team poleaxed the Buckeyes in Columbus on Saturday.
His actions led to a predictable outcry — Mayfield is classless! — and an even more predictable non-apology.
“I didn't mean for it to be disrespectful to any Ohio State people at all, especially the team or the players, because they're a great team and a great program,” Mayfield told reporters Monday. “It was an emotional game. I knew that it was going to have a lot of implications on the playoffs. ... I got caught up in an emotional win. Yeah, it should've been something I did in the locker room. So I apologize for doing it in the middle of the field.”
For what exactly was he apologizing?
A college kid having fun after the score-settling win of his career? Of course, Mayfield meant his turf-marking to be “disrespectful,” just as the Ohio State players who posed with a “Basic Defense” sign — remember that fuss? — meant to “disrespect” after the Buckeyes’ big win at Oklahoma last year. But both playful celebrations could not have been more harmless.
The biggest difference between college football and the NFL — the well-documented No Fun League — is the spirit and the spectacle, the rivalries and the back and forth. You know who laments a team not winning with class? Fans of the team that loses.
As one Twitter wag noted, those up in arms over this must be a lot of fun at parties.