During his team’s Fiesta Bowl victory on Saturday, Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins grabbed somewhere he probably wasn’t supposed to grab.
In the game’s second quarter, Ohio State H-back Curtis Samuel found himself wrapped up between a trio of Clemson defenders. The play was long over, but Wilkins (No. 42 in orange) did some digging with his right hand.
Wilkins’ right hand first comes to rest on Samuel’s rear end. That could be considered, if viewed in good faith, merely a move by Wilkins to keep his balance. But then Wilkins moves his hand and starts to burrow it between the backs of Samuel’s thighs, presumably really close to Samuel’s genitals. It looks quite painful for Samuels.
Officials on the field didn’t penalize Wilkins. It’s not clear if that’s because they didn’t see what had happened or just didn’t think much of it. Who can know?
Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson, whose team will face Wilkins and the Clemson Tigers on Monday for the CFP National Championship Game, was asked about the grab incident on Wednesday. Let’s just say he’s not too enthusiastic about this happening to him.
Alabama LT Cam Robinson on Clemson players being touchy-feely: "They better not try me like that. That's all I got to say."— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) January 5, 2017
Here’s Wilkins’ explanation, in which he says he was “being silly.”
Christian Wilkins says he's sorry for the... um... extracurriculars w/Curtis Samuel.... pic.twitter.com/JAnNdrCWpX— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) January 1, 2017
And here is a winding, remarkable series of words on the topic from Wilkins’ teammate, Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware:
Clemson's Ben Boulware has thoughts on people ripping Christian Wilkins for, uh, grabbing a handful in the Fiesta Bowl. pic.twitter.com/qC1DlDnHW2— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) January 4, 2017
“The people who are freaking out about that have never played the game, or were just losers who didn’t have any friends when they played the game,” he said. “It’s annoying.”