LAWRENCE, Kan. — Heisman Trophy front-runner and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield apologized for his “unacceptable” and “disrespectful” actions toward Kansas players during the Sooners’ 41-3 victory Saturday.
During a chippy game that was preceded by a Kansas player refusing to return Mayfield’s offer of a handshake during the coin toss, Mayfield grabbed his crotch and appeared to yell “F— you!” at the Jayhawks’ sideline.
“I got caught up in a competitive game, a chippy game, but what I did was unacceptable,” Mayfield said. “I apologize. It’s disrespectful. It’s not the example I want to set. It’s not the legacy I want to leave at OU. I truly do apologize. Thinking about the kids that are watching this now, it’s not something I want to do to the parents out there. I’m sorry.”
Mayfield also issued an apology later Saturday on his Twitter account.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said there was “no excuse” for Mayfield’s actions and said he would consider disciplinary action once he gets the chance to watch Mayfield’s antics for himself.
“It was a chippy game, and it was chippy from the second their guys decided they didn’t want to shake our hands at the coin toss,” Riley said. “The chippiness started there. … Baker is a competitive guy and let his emotions get the best of him. We can’t have that, he can’t do that.”
Tensions began to escalate from the opening coin toss between Mayfield and the Jayhawks. Mayfield attempted to shake hands with Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., but he was snubbed. In return, Mayfield scoffed and began clapping his hands as he walked back. Moments later, he was helmet-to-helmet with another Kansas captain, defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr.
Dineen acknowledged afterward that refusing to shake Mayfield’s hand looked bad but said, “It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful toward them. It was us trying to get our guys motivated.”
In the second quarter, Mayfield grew more upset after taking a late hit to the head from Kansas corner Hasan Defense. Defense was flagged for roughing the passer but not targeting. As Mayfield walked ahead to rejoin his teammates, he began chirping at the Kansas sideline.
That carried over into the second half, when Mayfield grabbed his crotch and yelled at the Kansas team from across the field after tossing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews, putting the Sooners up 28-3.
“You get caught up in the emotional stuff,” Mayfield said. “But when the coaches said something about it, that’s when I realized I had really messed up. Cameras are always on me. You’ve got to be smart.”
Mayfield was also caught on camera turning around to a group of Kansas hecklers and apparently telling them, “You have one win! Stick to basketball.”
Saturday wasn’t the first time Mayfield has been embroiled in controversy. After a Week 2 victory at Ohio State, he planted an Oklahoma flag at midfield of The Shoe. He apologized for the celebration, saying he “didn’t mean for it to be disrespectful.”
“Football is a competitive game for a reason,” Mayfield said. “There’s a lot of emotion. On the field, there’s a lot of trash talk that goes on. Today I just took it too far.”