Last Monday, during a softball game between the number 3 ranked Florida Gators and the number 5 Auburn Tigers, an incident occurred between an Auburn player and the Florida Gators head coach in the handshake line after the game. The Auburn was shaking hands with all of the Florida players, until she got to the coaches at the end of the line. She put her hand down when she got to the first coach in line and proceeded to put her hand down passing each coach. The Florida head coach then tapped the Auburn player on the shoulder and she then responded pushing the head coach back right after.
Watching this incident happen, I was very shocked to see a player react like that to a coach. To be an athlete at a D1 college, you have a lot of eyes watching your every move. It doesn’t help that a majority of all D1 games are televised.
In my opinion, sportsmanship is the number one thing that all athletes should be responsible for while playing in their sporting events. No matter what the situation is, you should always be able to handle yourself with class as you play/finish in your games.
I did my research on the softball incident and I figured out that this player and the Florida Coach have some history between the two. The Auburn player has two older sisters that used to play for the University of Florida, but they got kicked off the team, according to al.com, “hours before the 2012 NCAA tournament, for unspecified reasons.” Later publishings came out saying that the girls were kicked off for an altercation within the team.
Personally, I do not think that the Florida Head Coach was in the wrong in the situation. I think that the Auburn player was the one who was one who started the whole thing. By putting her hand down, she showed no respect for a well respected highly ranked coach. I do however think that he handled it in a bad way, but he did however release a statement saying that he did handle it the wrong way.
According to usnews.com, head coach Mike Walton stated “I apologize to Haley. I just wanted to congratulate Auburn on the win – it was a good series. My intent was to give a high-five to each opposing player as we do after every game. Apparently, her hand wasn’t up as I said ‘good game’ and I touched her shoulder. I should have paid closer attention and did not intend to upset her.
I regret that this has taken attention away from the effort and sportsmanship both teams displayed all weekend.”
I believe that sportsmanship should be a universal thing but it’s about how the players take what they are taught by their coaches and how they handle themselves by what they have been taught. The Auburn player, Haley Fagan, should have left what was between her two sisters and the coach between those three. She shouldn’t have brought it up at all.