Handshake Gate has, hopefully, ended for good now that Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said the incident “never should have happened” at his Sunday teleconference.
For a refresher, prior to kickoff Saturday night, UK sent out captains Nick Haynes, Mike Edwards, Stephen Johnson and Courtney Love to midfield for the pregame handshake and coin toss.
However, SC captains Hayden Hurst, Deebo Samuel, D.J. Wonnum and D.J. Smith didn’t shake their hands.
Now, what led up to that and how the entire incident transpired. SC reporter Langston Moore reports that Johnson was talking trash to the Gamecocks, which led to them not wanting to shake hands.
Referees stepped in to calm the situations and we flipped the coin... spin it how you want but that false.— Langston Moore (@reMovethechains) September 17, 2017
HOWEVER, Dick Gabriel reports that that UK players weren’t talking trash directly to the Gamecocks at the handshake line:
Yes, the Kentucky players were vocal but, from what I could tell amid the noise and music, they weren’t directing their energy at the SC guys as they approached midfield. And when the Wildcat players tried to initiate handshakes, the Gamecocks – from where I stood – never budged, hands at their sides. Deebo Samuel was the SC player closest to me; his expression seemed to convey this: “Are you kidding me? No way.”
Regardless of what really happened, Muschamp apologized for the incident and, more or less, took the blame for the incident.
“I didn’t really know anything about this until this morning,” Muschamp said. “Our players are always expected to shake hands regardless of the circumstances, and I addressed it with them and our football team. We are always going to have class and display sportsmanship in everything we do and represent the University of South Carolina in a first-class manner. When I found out about it this morning I immediately called (Kentucky head coach) Mark Stoops and apologized for whatever ill will there might be, and absolutely Mark and I are one the same page. We will move on.”
Who knows what really transpired, but the only thing that matters is UK is 3-0 and have now won four straight vs. the Gamecocks.
Losing to UK is something SC can’t seem to shake either.