HOOVER, Ala. — Missouri quarterback James Franklin found himself at the center of a small controversy at the Southeastern Conference’s Media Days on Tuesday.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Shortly before he was set to meet with the print media in the afternoon at the Wynfrey Hotel, some tweets began circulating that Franklin, in a TV interview session, had called out Missouri fans as the rudest in the SEC.
Here’s a quick replay: After Franklin was told that MU receiver L’Damian Washington had said earlier that some of the SEC fans — particularly South Carolina’s — had “been on the rude side” last season, Franklin was asked the following (as best I can tell from this video):
“What are some of your reactions from your first season in the SEC and some of the fans?”
Here was Franklin’s answer:
“Well actually, probably the rudest fans that I experienced were Mizzou, my own fans,” Franklin said, chuckling. “Once I kind of did that, they were not saying some not-so-nice things to me. I really don’t try to pay attention to that stuff, but just for the books, I’d say I heard some pretty not-so-nice comments from my own fans. But football is football, everyone can say what they want to, it doesn’t mean that it’s always true. You just have to do your best and not focus on that (or) worry about that and try to play your game.”
Franklin later explained the statement to the print media.
“They asked me a question,” Franklin said later to print reporters. “They said ‘What was the rudest comment you got all season, and who was it by?’ And then I said ‘The rudest comment was actually by (one of) my own fans, a Mizzou fan.’ I didn’t say what it was, because it was pretty bad. And that, I guess has gone viral.”
“Someone mentioned it to me on the way over here, and I was like ‘Oh man, I’m going to be in trouble, now,’” Franklin said with a laugh.
Franklin reiterated several times later in the day that he was not talking about Mizzou fans as a whole — just the one fan he had in mind when he was answering the question.
“I’m definitely not going to say what he said, because it wasn’t the best thing to say,” Franklin said. “He said something pretty bad, and it was just the worst thing I heard last year.”
Later, when asked about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel — who caused a dustup of his own this weekend after leaving the Manning Passing Academy early — Franklin gently cautioned against judging Manziel prematurely, circling back to his earlier comment and the powerful influence of social media, where it doesn’t take much to start a small controversy.
“You have to be careful what you hear in the media and what’s posted online,” Franklin said. “Just like the comment I made earlier, about what was the rudest comment I got. And now, all the Mizzou fans are going to think they’re the rudest fans ever.
“So you have to be careful about what you pay attention to online. Because once it comes out, whether it’s true or it’s not, people are going to see that. They are going to see that on their newsfeed, they’re going to seed that on their Twitter, and so that’s going to become reality to them. Then their perception is ‘Oh, this happened, when maybe it didn’t happen.’”