Is the SEC ever going to step in and put an end to this story?
That’s what we’re left asking ourselves as yesterday a longer clip of James Franklin’s postgame conversation with Mark Richt hit the internet. In it, you can hear Franklin explain to Richt why he tried to give an earful to UGA defender Shaun Williams:
Franklin: “36 comes up, after a tough game, talking s— to me.”
Franklin: “Rubbing our face in it right after the game.”
Richt: “He’s a dumbass.”
Franklin: “And then your coach, when I tell him about it, then he goes after me and the fight starts.”
Richt: “That’s what I thought happened, I apologize. It’s horse s—, horse s—.”
Franklin then complained about Williams’ actions to — it appears — Georgia assistant coach Bryan McClendon.
Franklin had a right to be ticked. I don’t think there’s an adult coach in the country who’d want to be taunted by another school’s disrespectful player. And as for all of the “he went after our player” nonsense coming from UGA fans this week, you know very well that Franklin’s actions were far, far, far from being Woody Hayes-esque. He tried to yell at Williams from 10 yards behind him.
That’s when Todd Grantham got involved. And rather than listening like an adult, he simply went off like he’s got a fuse about two inches long. In the process, he once again became a YouTube sensation. Predictably, many Dawg fans are fine with that, too. (Georgia fans aren’t acting any differently than fans of any other schools fans would act, by the way. If Grantham had been wearing Kentucky blue, MSU maroon, LSU purple, Tennessee orange or any color in between, he’d be getting praise from the hometown supporters and a finger wag from everyone else.)
Richt handled things as he should have. He listened to Franklin’s complaint. He apologized for the over-the-top actions of his player and coach and he made his views on taunting pretty clear. You can be sure Richt doesn’t want to run a program where players pop off to opposing coaches. That’s bush league and if a Vandy player had done the same to a Georgia coach, Bulldog fans would still be screaming bloody murder today.
But that part of the story — save maybe a reprimand to Grantham for his actions — is likely history.
On The AJC’s site you can view the clip — literally — of Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart going low into the back of the knees of Georgia defensive tackle Kwame Geathers. Talk about bush league. Stewart’s away-from-the-ball blocking efforts could have left Geathers with a serious injury.
Geathers reacted hotly, of course, but in throwing a retaliatory punch he likely secured himself some time on the bench. The SEC has a history of sitting players who commit flagrant, dangerous penalties or throw punches.
The AJC’s Chip Towers suggests Williams — the player who taunted Franklin and the Vandy sideline at the end of the game — might face league discipline as well for the two personal fouls calls he brought upon himself during the contest.
If Stewart misses any time, it could come this weekend against Army or the following week — if the league chooses to enforce a suspension during conference play — against Arkansas.
But if Geathers or Williams is placed on the bench, it would come in Georgia’s next game… against Florida.
Of all the people involved in Saturday’s unnecessary dust-up, Richt seems to be the one who was the most calm, cool and collected. Ironically, he’s also taking a whole lot of heat for his actions.
Some Georgia fans have claimed that Richt never should have apologized to Franklin and should have acted as foolishly as Grantham. (Yeah, because AD Greg McGarity was clearly happy with Grantham’s behavior.)
Other UGA fans (and a few radio hosts who had me on yesterday) are taking Richt to task for running a program where players taunt and earn personal foul penalties and where an assistant coach can wind up a YouTube sensation two years in a row.
The verdict: There were no winners on Saturday night. And if the SEC doesn’t act quickly to get this story off the front burner, you can chalk up the league office as a loser in this mess, too. Time to end the bad pub.
Judging by Franklin's demeanor when he met with Richt and another UGA assistant after the game, I doubt that Franklin greeted Grantham with those words. If Franklin uttered that to Grantham or to one of UGA's players, I'm guessing he didn't lead with it. He certainly didn't go anywhere near that kind of talk with the many other comments that were caught on tape.
Too bad there's no tape -- not yet anyway -- that reveals exactly what Franklin and Grantham said to one another.
Maybe Shaun Williams "rubbing it in" after the game and getting called for personal fouls had as much to do with Vandy's conduct during the game as it did him "being a dumbass." There is no way to know what Williams said. Maybe he simply rubbed it in because he's a jerk. Maybe he rubbed it in because he though Vandy was playing dirty and he let Franklin know it. All we get to see is the result and Franklin's side of the story immediately following. Also, Franklin probably didn't say to Grantham, "that young man there, sir, number 36, taunted me after the game." Grantham doesn't look upset at all until he hears what Franklin says; Grantham definitely didn't look like he was searching for a fight.
Logan Stewart's shot on Kwame Geathers is about as dirty as it gets. Ben Jones of UGA did something very similar last season against MSU and wrote a letter to the MSU player apologizing for his conduct. I wonder if Geather's will get the same kind of letter.
(Georgia fans aren’t acting any differently than fans of any other schools fans would act, by the way. If Grantham had been wearing Kentucky blue, MSU maroon, LSU purple, Tennessee orange or any color in between, he’d be getting praise from the hometown supporters and a finger wag from everyone else.)
So a few fans email you and you paint the entrie fanbases. I thought Grantham was wrong no matter what color he was wearing. Franklin wasnt perfect either, it looks like he told very single person in the stadium what happened and he couldve walked away when Grantham lost his anger. Again Grantham was wrong and pretty much the reason this happened and I would think the majority of UGA fans would agree. No one emails to agree they email when they disagree.
I've had more than 50 emails from Georgia fans angry that we didn't take Grantham's side. I've also checked the messageboards and read the comments left under other sites' coverage of this story. And I've spoken with people who do radio shows in Georgia.
I feel pretty solid in my assessment that a large number of UGA fans are defending Grantham, chastising Franklin.
Whenever we comment on fan reactions, we always hear the "Not everyone feels that way" response. And we understand that. But we can't specify percentages on a story to story basis and I assume that most readers don't believe 100% of any fanbase ever feels the same way about anything.
Also, did I not go out of my way by including the paragraph you copied to say that those UGA fans who are defending Grantham are no different than the fans of other schools?