Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Melvin White (22) breaks up a pass intended for Oklahoma State wide receiver Tracy Moore (87) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
The latest sports controversy has reached college football’s borders.
Colin Kaepernick, as you might have heard, kicked up quite the controversy last week by declining to stand during the playing of the National Anthem prior to a San Francisco 49ers preseason game. The former Nevada quarterback’s words explaining to sit the anthem out served to add fuel to the raging firestorm.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. …
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
Kaepernick has spent his entire NFL career with the 49ers, and his first coach at the professional level was Jim Harbaugh. Now the head coach at Michigan, Harbaugh was asked Monday about Kaepernick, who helped lead Harbaugh’s club to the NFC championship game in 2013, and his decision to sit on the bench while the anthem played.
“I acknowledge his right to do that,” Harbaugh said according mlive.com. “But I don’t respect the motivation or the action.”
While more forceful and tinged with personal opinion, Harbaugh’s comments are somewhat in line those made by a former Oregon Ducks head coach who’s now in charge of the 49ers.
“We recognize his right to do that,” Chip Kelly said according to the Sacramento Bee. “It’s not our right to tell him not to do something. That’s his right as a citizen.”
It’s been an odd week or so on the recruiting front for Michigan.
Around this time last week, a four-star 2017 defensive lineman decommitted from the Wolverines and reopened his recruitment following a thank-you note gaffe that included a misspelled name. Around the same time, a four-star 2018 offensive lineman decommitted as well, although he declined at the time to give a reason for a change of heart.
Over the weekend, and following his high school football team’s season opener, Jalil Irvin opened up to Scout.com over the reasoning behind pulling his verbal from UM.
“The major reason was a lack of communication,” Irvin told the recruiting website. “I haven’t talked to the coaches in two months. I was thinking, ‘Why would I stay committed here, when I haven’t heard from them in two months?’ So I decommitted and I picked up two offers the same day actually.”
Irvin had only been a UM pledge for two months, committing to the Wolverines back in June. Now, while he’s no longer committed to the Big Ten program, Irvin labeled the Wolverines as “still one of my dream schools” and that he will get to up Ann Arbor to “catch a game eventually.”
Irvin is rated by 247sports.com as the No. 14 guard in the country and the No. 23 player at any position in the state of Georgia. In addition to UM, Irvin holds offers from, among others, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia Tech.
Aubrey Solomon, the 2017 recruit who pulled his verbal over the note that thanked him for attending a Big House BBQ event he didn’t attend, stated in an interview that UM coaches had not kept in regular contact with him either. Also like Irvin, Solomon committed to UM in June.
Another 2018 four-star commit, Ohio defensive lineman Leonard Taylor, decommitted from the Wolverines last week as well. Taylor gave no specific reason for the decommitment, writing in a Twitter missive that he felt it was “the best course of action in order to make the right decision for me.”
— Leonard Taylor (@Lenny_T_20) August 22, 2016
Florida has seen its receiving corps suffer some attrition, but the most important and productive component of that group is officially returning.
Jim McElwain confirmed to the media Monday that Antonio Callaway has been cleared to take the field again and will play in the opener this weekend against UMass. The Gators head coach said he learned of the university’s decision this past Friday.
McElwain’s confirmation comes two weeks after a controversial Title IX hearing found the receiver not responsible for an alleged sexual assault.
A former UF student-athlete and current football booster had been assigned to oversee the Title IX hearing involving current Callaway and former UF quarterback Treon Harris, both of whom were accused in January by a woman of sexually assaulting her this past December. The alleged victim, as well as her parents and potential witnesses on her behalf, boycotted the hearing because of what they perceived as a conflict of interest.
The true sophomore had been suspended not only from the team but from the university since late January for a violation of the Student Conduct Code, later known to involve an alleged sexual assault. In March, Huntley Johnson, a lawyer well-known in and around Gainesville as the go-to attorney for Gator student-athletes who run into legal issues, issued a statement in which he claimed that the allegation against his non-client “has no merit.”
Johnson released a statement in early June in which he stated that a modified suspension would permit his client to attend classes on campus as well as allow him to use the football team’s practice facilities. Early on in summer camp, UF confirmed that Callaway will be permitted to practice with the Gators as they await the results of the hearing, which proceeded without the accuser and her witnesses.
Last season in his first year with the Gators, Calloway led the team in receiving yards (678) and tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (four). His 19.4 yards per catch led the squad, while his 35 receptions were good for third.
At the end of the regular season, he was named to the All-SEC Freshman team. Earlier today, he was, not surprisingly, listed as a starting receiver on the depth chart released ahead of the opener.
In addition to the Callaway news, McElwain also confirmed that Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells will be suspended for the opener. The true freshmen receivers were arrested in mid-July on a pair of charges related to a BB gun incident that was caught on surveillance video.
Cleveland and Wells are the third and fourth Gators suspended for the opener. It was announced earlier this month that All-SEC cornerback Jalen Tabor and sophomore tight end C'yontai Lewis would miss the opener because of what turned out to be a fight during practice between the two players.
LSU coach Les Miles is one of the more interesting figures in college football, as you all know.
To that point: He’s had the market cornered on Australian punters for the last six seasons. First it was Brad Wing — who was awesome, unlike the officiating in that video — in 2010 and 2011, then it was Jamie Keehn, who punted for LSU from 2012-2015.
But fear not, LSU has another Aussie punter this year in redshirt freshman Josh Growden. Take it away, Les:
Les Miles on his punters: “If the guy can’t speak Australian, I’m not interested.” #LSU
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) August 29, 2016
I can only imagine Miles is referring to this when he said “speak Australian:”