Athletes raising middle fingers at fans occasionally happens, but it’s more unusual to see it done against their own fans. That appears to be what Texas A&M wide receiver Will Gunnell did heading into halftime Saturday, though. With the Aggies down 21-14 at home to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, many Texas A&M players weren’t happy, and Gunnell expressed that with a double bird, which appears to have been flipped at his own fans. Watch #40 on the left side here, two seconds in:
We don’t know the full context here; perhaps a fan said something to Gunnell or other players first. But it certainly looks like the sections on both sides are full of A&M fans, not Ragin’ Cajuns’ fans, and it definitely looks like he’s taking pains to flip them off.
As per Texas A&M’s roster, Gunnell is a freshman wide receiver from Houston. He hasn’t recorded any stats so far. But he certainly made an impact with this move. And while the frustration’s understandable, especially when you’re losing to a Sun Belt team you paid $1.25 million to come play you, this probably wasn’t the wisest way to express it.
If the Aggies come back and win (they’re now up 28-21 in the third quarter, so perhaps this was a motivational double bird), this may not turn into a huge story. But if they lose, it might get some more attention, especially considering ongoing tensions between the program and their fans following a blown 34-point lead against UCLA in the opener and tense moments in a 24-14 win over FCS Nicholls State last week.
The criticism from the fans has been intense. A member of A&M’s board of regents (who later bought a tank) posted publicly that head coach Kevin Sumlin “needs to GO,” and Sumlin also received racist hate mail and then took criticism in some quarters for publicizing the racist hate mail and expressing a desire to press charges. And a player flipping off fans probably isn’t going to make things better. (Of course, losing at home to Louisiana-Lafayette could make things really bad, double bird or no double bird.)
[Kevin McGuire on Clippit]