By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
I contemplated several different topics today—such is the dilemma with a brand new blog and a ton of ideas—and I had originally planned to discuss the ten best teams I’ve ever seen play at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. I haven’t given up on that one, which will run tomorrow (nothing like a good teaser).
But something that was said on the radio this morning gripped me and caused me to reflect on an issue that is often debated among fans when trash talk is exchanged between rivals.
For those who may have just returned from a week-long vacation under a rock, here is the infamous quote from Sammy Watkins regarding the possibility of a special season for his team, courtesy of Bart Wright of The Greenville News:
“If we come out and beat Georgia, not just beat ‘em but beat the mess out of ‘em like we should, I don’t see no problems in getting started in the right direction.”
Watkins continued, and to be perfectly honest, the quote is absolutely taken out of context the way I have used it. There is no way to contextualize the meaning behind the words without knowing the question and the complete response. But outside of simply breaking down the quote, I was intrigued by the way in which one observer chose to interpret it.
A Georgia fan remarked that it “wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it” that was the problem. If this is the case, then it changes the way we, as fans and journalists, have to view statements that inflame emotion.
I assumed Georgia fans would be irate at the notion that Watkins was saying he felt Clemson should beat Georgia, which has somehow become unacceptable in our society in spite of it being the obvious goal of him and his teammates for months of preparation. Perhaps I am correct in this assumption, and the majority of people would be upset regardless of the phrasing of the quote.
But if Watkins going a step further—saying his team should “beat the mess out of” its opponent—is what is stoking the fire, I say it’s much ado about nothing. The idea never changed. We don’t know what Watkins’ statement even means to him. There was no quantifiable threshold between the idea of “beating” a team and “beating the mess” out of it.
In the end, fans will be upset if they want to be. Players will self-motivate however they please. Maybe this is just the way it is.
But I refuse to believe Georgia fans would be okay if Watkins had simply stopped at the word “beat” and gone no further, which was the caller’s implication.
The “bring it on” mentality of Watkins is preferable to the alternative. So whatever backlash his comments get, Clemson fans can be pleased with his confidence.
Discuss today’s blog in The Rock.