Four Kansas football players who refused to shake Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s hand will not be captains in the Jayhawks’ season finale.
Dorance Armstrong, Daniel Wise, Joe Dineen and Jeremiah Booker, who snubbed Mayfield during the coin-toss ceremony before Saturday’s 41-3 home loss, will be replaced as captains by KU’s seniors in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Oklahoma State.
“They made a mistake in the heat of the moment that obviously they regret, and we certainly would never want (that) to happen again,” KU coach David Beaty said. “It was certainly unacceptable.”
Beaty said there would be no further on-field penalty for the four players. Also, Beaty said Hasan Defense would not miss any playing time after drawing a late-hit penalty against Mayfield in the second quarter, saying the defensive back had completed in-house punishment.
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On Tuesday, the Big 12 publicly reprimanded KU’s captains for the incident, with commissioner Bob Bowlsby saying the “refusal of these student-athletes to shake an opponent’s hand during the pregame ceremony is contrary to tradition and inconsistent with common courtesy.”
Beaty, who met with his captains twice in the last three days, said those four players suggested they give up their titles for the final game.
Armstrong and Wise also discussed the incident for the first time Tuesday.
“It blew up to something we didn’t want it to,” Armstrong said. “Now we’re dealing with it, and we’re learning from it.”
Added Wise: “That’s not who we are really. As captains, we put sportsmanship over anything. Looking back on it, we displayed bad sportsmanship for our team and for Kansas fans. We let them down.”
Booker also showed up to Tuesday’s interview session, saying he wanted to take responsibility as a captain for his role. The receiver, who is out because of an injury, stood next to his three teammates in a gray hoodie before Saturday’s game.
“At the time, we weren’t thinking,” Booker said. “That’s just something that we have to learn from.”
Beaty was stern in his criticism of his captains’ actions Tuesday — something that differed from what he said immediately after the game. Late Saturday, he seemed more understanding, saying, “You’re going to stick your feet in the ground. You’re going to defend your grass. I think we’ve got to display it better than that, honestly, but I get it. I understand where they’re coming from.”
The coach, who said he spoke with athletic director Sheahon Zenger on Sunday, explained why his tone had changed over the last few days, saying in the moment he “didn't even realize some of the things that had taken place out there.”
“I don't get the vantage point that you do when you're sitting at home or when you're at the game. Obviously when you get done, you're able to take everything in. You're able to see and digest a little bit more than what you do in that particular situation,” Beaty said. “But I've always been very big on discipline here. That has been a platform by which we teach, creating one good man at a time, and we live it daily. We're going to continue to live it.”
Zenger also issued a statement Tuesday: “We all understand that what happened Saturday was unacceptable, and we have apologized to the University of Oklahoma. These four captains have always been examples of competitiveness and outstanding sportsmanship. This was a one-time act based on emotion and the heat of the moment. After discussing the incident with these young men, we are confident that they have learned a valuable lesson and will continue to be good leaders going forward.”
The penalty for KU’s captains was similar but not quite as severe as Mayfield faces this week. The Heisman candidate will not be a captain and also will not start after he grabbed his crotch and yelled obscenities toward the KU bench following a third-quarter touchdown.
Both Booker and Armstrong also were remorseful that Dineen took the brunt of the criticism. He was the player on video who did not shake Mayfield’s hand, and he also was the only captain who attended postgame interviews to explain the Jayhawks’ thinking.
Booker said that act “wasn’t Joe’s character,” while Armstrong admitted that the other three had “left Joe out there to dry after the game.”
“I should have showed up and been on his side as I was for the beginning of the game when we decided to do that. I wasn’t,” Armstrong said. “I do feel bad for that, but it won’t happen again.”