Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did not on Saturday for the Sooners against West Virginia. He missed OU’s first two offensive plays and then returned. (Those two plays constituted a quick OU touchdown drive.) Mayfield was also not a captain for the game, despite it being his senior day. So, OU players did this for the coin toss:
The news of Mayfield’s brief benching came just a couple days after Mayfield’s eventful game against Kansas on Saturday. Mayfield’s backup is former Texas A&M starter Kyler Murray.
Lincoln Riley getting emotional about Mayfield. Not able to speak for several seconds.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 20, 2017
Mayfield got emotional, too, especially about not being a captain:
Baker Mayfield gets emotional talking about not being Oklahoma's captain on his Senior Night. pic.twitter.com/7ywjMb7Ejj— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 21, 2017
Last Monday, Riley said via ESPN that the pregame handshake snub was “a lightning rod” for tensions escalating during Saturday’s game. Therefore:
And the Big 12 conference office issued its own public reprimand on Tuesday afternoon.
“Mr. Mayfield’s actions are unacceptable and should not be tolerated,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “I am grateful for the efficient management of this matter by the coaches and administration of the University of Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield is a truly outstanding competitor and I generally appreciate his style of play and the manner in which he competes. However, the behavior he exhibited on the sideline during the Oklahoma-Kansas game was inappropriate and contrary to our sportsmanship policies.”
Wait, so what all happened here?
It all got started at the pregame coin toss before the game kicked off. When Mayfield went to shake hands with the Kansas captains, they declined:
The three players who didn’t shake his hand in linebacker Joe Dineen, defensive tackle Daniel Wise, and defensive end Dorance Armstrong won't serve as captains for Kansas’ game Saturday at Oklahoma State, David Beaty announced Tuesday.
There was also this afterwards:
So, Mayfield and a Kansas player went helmet to helmet after the coin toss. A ref had to run in from the sideline to separate them. And no, I'm not kidding about this.— Jenni Carlson (@JenniCarlson_OK) November 18, 2017
Later, with his team up big, Mayfield taunted Kansas fans, which included suggesting they stick to basketball because their football team isn’t good:
According to the ESPN broadcast, Baker Mayfield told Kansas fans to "stick to basketball."— Kevin Flaherty (@KFlaherty247) November 18, 2017
Then, Mayfield took the taunting to the next level.
In the third quarter of the game after Mayfield took a cheap shot from Kansas, he looked across the field and grabbed his crotch:
Baker Mayfield on his Johnny Manziel bullshit pic.twitter.com/BnTvhCaNiW— 5th Year (@5thYear) November 18, 2017
Here’s what Sooner head coach Riley had to say after the game:
Riley said Mayfield "definitely had a target on him," referenced the Hasan Defense late hit: pic.twitter.com/Gn8z7zN4Ny— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 19, 2017
“He definitely had a target on him in this game,” Riley said. “There was a lot of late stuff with him, that they were trying to get accomplished. But again, regardless of what happens he’s been in enough of these, it’s no excuse to let it get to you and to make you make a dumb decision.”
After the game, Mayfield issued this apology:
Mayfield’s been disciplined before.
Back in February, he was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing, and resisting arrest. He plead guilty to three of those charges, and according to The Washington Post he paid $300 in fines, along with $160 in court costs and $483.20 in restitution.
Mayfield wasn’t suspended for the arrest, but OU made him participate in university alcohol education, and perform 35 hours of community service.
And this isn’t exactly the first time he’s gotten caught up in the moment.
After Oklahoma defeated Ohio State in Columbus earlier this season, he celebrated the big win by running around the field with Oklahoma’s flag. He then made his way over to the “O” on OSU’s field, and planted the flag into it.
Baker Mayfield plants the OU flag in the Ohio State logo at midfield pic.twitter.com/Ovas203PqP— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 10, 2017
Monday after the game, Mayfield issued an apology, which in my opinion wasn’t really necessary, given that he’s a college player whose team just won a huge game on the road:
Look, Mayfield shouldn’t feel bad for what he did at all.
OU just upset the No. 2 team in the country by two scores, and he threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns while doing it. If you don’t like it, you’ve gotta lighten up a good bit. I’m all for class and being respectful and all that, but let the dude celebrate after an enormous win on the road.
Yes, given the outcry from what Mayfield did, and when ESPN does things like blur out his crotch-grabbing to make it seem way worse than it is, this discipline is expected. Some, like myself, may not necessarily agree with it, but when you’re under the national microscope and get the backlash Mayfield did, some sort of punishment is an expected PR move by OU.