According to multiple media reports floating around the World Wide Web yesterday, Mack Brown allegedly took umbrage with opposing players flashing Texas’ famous “hook ‘em” hand sign upside down. The comments were reported to have come in response to a question about a penalty that his team received last weekend against Texas Tech when receiver Mike Davis mocked the Red Raiders’ “guns up” sign.
Texas’ own official transcript of Mack's Monday press conference, however, mentions nothing of the sort. Thankfully, it would appear that Texas’ sports information department might have spared this lifelong Oklahoma fan the awkwardness of actually defending Brown in this case.
See, Brown would be 100 percent in the right to take exception to his own player drawing a flag for something that Texas’ opponents do on the regular. He would have a legitimate gripe about a double standard in terms of enforcing taunting and excessive celebration penalties.
It would be understandable if UT had sanitized the official record, though, given the namby-pamby tone of Brown’s comments:
"The horns down is disrespectful," Mack Brown said. "We ought to talk about that as a league." #ut— kbohls (@kbohls) November 5, 2012
The whininess of the reported remarks definitely sounds like Mack, as does the “run home to mama” part about approaching the Big 12 – viewed by many as Bevo's Star Chamber. This is the same guy who complained about being saddled with what could be the single most significant competitive advantage in college sports.
That he would have picked the wrong reason to complain would also be entirely within Mack’s character.
To moan that mocking a team’s hand signal is “disrespectful” implies that it is somehow sacrosanct. Sorry, but we’re talking about a hand signs here. Like “guns up” or Texas A&M's “gig ‘em” or USC’s “V,” "horns up” should be fair game.
Rather than appealing to higher authorities about stepping up enforcement of such a pointless rule – something college football already does pretty well – the better solution would be to eliminate these ridiculous excessive celebration penalties altogether. If you've got beef with a player throwing the horns down, that's your problem. Let the players actually have fun in the moment instead of worrying that some gray-haired Florida booster will get pissy about poking fun at the gator chomp.
So, Mack-According-To-Reports gets partial credit.
At first, I thought Mack was whining again, too. But, then I thought about his complaint and he's absolutely right. Here's a brief excerpt from Rule 9-2-1-a detailing unsportsmanlike conduct.
Specifically prohibited acts and conduct include:
1. No player, substitute, coach or other person subject to the rules shall use abusive, threatening or obscene language or gestures, or engage in such acts that provoke ill will or are demeaning to an opponent, to game officials or to the image of the game, including but not limited to:
(a) Pointing the finger(s), hand(s), arm(s) or ball at an opponent, or imitating the slashing of the throat.
(b) Taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent verbally.
(c) Inciting an opponent or spectators in any other way, such as simulating the firing of a weapon or placing a hand by the ear to request recognition.
Bottom line, Mike Davis should be allowed to "holster his guns" if opposing players can "Horns Down". As you can see by Rule 9, they ARE taunting and ridiculing the opponent.