The Clemson Tigers wrapped up their regular season with a dominating performance against in-state rival South Carolina Saturday night. The Gamecocks were used merely as a tune-up for the ACC Championship Game, which will be played next weekend in Orlando against Virginia Tech. With the game well in hand and this being the final game at home for Clemson’s seniors (and a handful of notable juniors), Clemson used some timeouts late in the game to allow for a final sendoff by the Clemson faithful for players that have accomplished so much in the last few years. This did not sit well with South Carolina.
“I feel like they kind of disrespected us at the end,” safety D.J. Smith said after the game, according to The State. “Holding the ball and doing all that showboating. I feel like it wasn’t really classy, but it is a rivalry game. It’s going to stick with all of us and we’re going to remember.”
There was some more alleged ugliness attached to the game as well. South Carolina wide receiver Terry Googer shared his reaction via Twitter, noting there were some racial slurs thrown around from the Clemson side.
South Carolina linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams also suggested a racial slur was hurled at some point in the evening.
“They disrespected us. We’re waiting 365 days to get this team back,” Allen-Williams said, according to The Big Spur. “They did a lot of disrespectful things on the field. We’re on a mission. We’re definitely going to be ready next year at Williams-Brice [Stadium]. They called us N words, some of their linemen. They did a lot of nasty stuff. That’s just not us. Coach Muschamp always talks to us about being a classy program. That’s one thing we’re going to do.”
There is no defending the use of racial slurs but as far as the late-game tributes to the Clemson seniors, some might say to the victors go the spoils. It will be up to South Carolina to next year do what it can to show Clemson how that moment feels when the teams meet again at the end of the 2017 regular season.