Earlier today, Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reported that 10-15 USC football players were involved in a postgame “altercation” following the Trojans’ embarrassing Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. Later, ESPN.com, citing its own sources presumably, reported that there was “a flat-out brawl” in the locker room and “haymakers” were thrown.
Quarterback Matt Barkley, who did not play in the game due to an injured shoulder, acknowledged during a radio interview Wednesday that “tempers flared, yeah” but firmly stated that no punches were thrown.
In a statement released initially through the USC athletic department Twitter feed, head coach Lane Kiffin backed up Barkley’s account of the events.
“Contrary to media reports, there was not a brawl or altercation in our locker room after the Sun Bowl,” the statement from Kiffin began. “There was a noisy verbal exchange among a couple players who were frustrated with the outcome of the game. It lasted less than a minute and was nothing physical.”
“It happens sometimes in football locker rooms after a disappointing loss.”
Trojans offensive lineman Khaled Holmes took to Twitter as well, writing that the “[r]eport of the incident in the locker room is blown out of proportion. Many disappointed, competitive young men, but no punches thrown!”
It should be noted that Wolf’s account never mentioned punches being thrown or that things got physical, although the Daily News writer did state that freshmen questioning the leadership of the team’s seniors “led to an argument that eventually escalated according to witnesses.” One unnamed player told Wolf that “[i]t was one of the worst things I’ve seen in a locker room.”
Where does the actual truth fall? Based on the events of this evening, we’re gonna guess it was some very elaborate hoax perpetrated by one of the two sides of the story.