With Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen getting all of the 2018 quarterback class attention during the USC-UCLA showdown on Saturday night, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield found a way to get people to notice him, too. Only not in a good way.
Mayfield issued an apology on Twitter after Saturday’s win over Kansas, which featured Mayfield repeatedly grabbing his crotch and mouthing “f–k you” at the Jayhawks while prowling the Sooners’ sideline.
“I am extremely sorry for how I carried myself today,” Mayfield said. “I am sorry to the Kansas fans, coaches and players for disrespecting them. I am sorry to Sooner fans for not representing our University the way I should. I am sorry to any parent that had their kid(s) watching… I was not the good and inspiring role model that I aspire to be.
“What I did was unacceptable and in turn it has taken the attention off of our team. Not to mention my solo act reflects poorly on my team/program… Which is the opposite of what I want to do. I want my teammates and coaches to get all the attention and credit for working hard and having success. I am sorry to my brothers and coaches as well. I am an extremely competitive player once on the field, but that does not excuse and never will excuse my actions today. I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”
Recently, 49ers G.M. John Lynch compared Mayfield to Johnny Manziel during a visit to the Haberman & Middlekauff podcast. In the good way.
“He’s got some special qualities to him. He reminds a lot of people of Manziel and kind of has those qualities, he’s a good football player,” Lynch said. “I see a little Favre in him, I think the passion he played the game with. You always get yourself in trouble when you say ‘I see a lot of Favre in him.’ No, he’s not Brett Favre yet but that guy loves the game of football, people seem to gravitate towards him so he’s got that special skill set both the tangible things he can do — he throws the football extremely well, he can move around — but he also, there’s something special about that kid, you can see it.”
Mayfield will now draw some bad-way comparisons to Manziel, whose competitiveness morphed into obscene gestures during his first nationally-televised performance in the 2014 preseason, against Washington. Mayfield surely hopes to undo any short-term or long-term damage to his football career with his lay-it-on-thick/say-all-the-right-things apology.
The incident and the aftermath nevertheless will become a red flag for Mayfield during the pre-draft process, since any team that rolls the dice on Mayfield and in turn sees him do the kind of things he did on Saturday won’t be able to say they didn’t know he might act that way.
A separate question is whether anyone should care if Mayfield does what he did again; many surely won’t. The fact, however, that Mayfield felt compelled to issue a lengthy apology indicates that Mayfield or someone close to him believes that what he did was wrong, and that many would indeed find it troubling.