Senior linebacker James Skalski, the quarterback of Clemson’s defense, was ejected due to a controversial targeting call in Friday’s Sugar Bowl semifinal following a hit on Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields midway through the second quarter.
It marked the second straight year that Skalski was ejected for targeting in a College Football Playoff game at the Superdome in New Orleans, as it also happened in last year’s national championship game against LSU.
While some people agreed with Friday’s targeting penalty against Skalski, many others took exception to it. Here is what some people had to say about the targeting ejection on Twitter:
James Skalski was called for targeting and ejected after this hit on Justin Fields. pic.twitter.com/0oqTQCTEDi
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2021
This is straight B.S. for the second straight year in the playoffs this kid from @ClemsonFB named Skalski is ejected for “Targeting.” What is the guy suppose to do? Stand straight up and tackle? I mean, come on! What B.S. I feel so bad for that kid. Why even play defense.#Damn!
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 2, 2021
The rule is the rule, and it's designed to protect the defensive player as well as the offensive. But I don't think targeting should include leading with the crown of the helmet below the neck. Skalski's hit on Fields was a good football play on a QB who didn't give himself up.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 2, 2021
Bogus targeting calls are ruining the game of football
— Hunter Renfrow (@renfrowhunter) January 2, 2021
In my 18 years of football, that was the absolute WORST call I have ever seen in my entire life. We have lost football. #FreeJamie
— Ben Boulware (@benboulware7) January 2, 2021
Feel bad for Skalski because he is genuinely not a dirty player—hard, heart and soul, Boulware type guy— but not dirty. Last year was an absolute targeting, this one, he was hurt by the rule— there has to be a difference between a penalty, and an ejection on targeting.
— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) January 2, 2021
Massive open field hit. Really hope Fields is ok. He spun into that helmet. I get Skalski’s crown of helmet is down, but thats just crazy to me. If Fields doesn’t spin last second, that helmet is right on the side.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 2, 2021
James Skalski called for targeting and now I don't really know what targeting is anymore
— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) January 2, 2021
James Skalski’s ejection is the right call via the rulebook’s terms.
"No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of his helmet” is part of what the rule says.
If you’re upset that Skalski was tossed, take it up with the rulebook. pic.twitter.com/ukAXacEjXJ
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 2, 2021
Oh man that is a HUGE DQ on the targeting call but a good call by the officials
— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) January 2, 2021
That James Skalski hit on Justin Fields was big, looked painful in real time, yet not for a second did I think it was targeting.
Even looking at replays and listening to the rule, I'm having a tough time understanding that one.
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 2, 2021
Wow. Clemson's heart and soul LB James Skalski just ejected for targeting. Lowered helmet, hit Justin Fields in torso w crown of helmet on qb . Only problem was hitting with top of helmet. That rule is to protect tacklers too–hitting that way can break your neck. #OSUvsClemson
— Trevor Matich (@TMatich) January 2, 2021
I feel sick for Skalski
That was a football hit. Not dirty, no head hunting. No trash talking after.
The rule is flawed.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) January 2, 2021
I hate the targeting call in college football period it should not be an automatic ejection. And that was a routine good tackle by Skalski https://t.co/l44zBa3BmI
— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) January 2, 2021