Regardless if your a football fan or not, no one can deny the power and passion that ignited from the Sooner’s victory this weekend. This past Saturday in Columbus, Ohio the Oklahoma Sooners defeated The Ohio State Buckeyes in an epic football game. After losing to the Buckeyes in 2016, OU fans everywhere were celebrating the win, and the environment on campus was electric. However, after the game, OU quarterback Baker Mayfield decided to plant the OU flag in the middle of Ohio Stadium. Since the game, Mayfield and the University have received controversial buzz about the incident.
My response from the perspective of a student:
Personally, I have mixed feelings when it comes to the “flag plant” incident this past Saturday. As a student watching the game live, my immediate reaction was one of excitement and pride. Although I was slightly surprised when I saw this take place, it evoked and sense of pride, joy and competitiveness through my friends and I. Through my observations, many fellow Sooners shared this reaction.
Even though I did not feel guilt or disrespect in my immediate reaction, some of these feeling did come around a few days later when I witnessed the repercussions of the incident. After researching and analyzing the incident more, I do believe that this act of celebration was taken too far, but I also believe that Mayfield’s response and apology was smart but not completely necessary. This was just an act of celebration, and I think it was slightly blown out of proportion.
Overall, my student perspective is very neutral and I can see valid points to both sides of the argument, but the football-loving Sooner in me is still beaming with excitement from the victory and secretly didn’t feel too bad about this.
My response from a PR perspective:
Although I am still a very happy sooner after this weekend’s game, my response from a public relations standpoint differs greatly from that of a student. When I first witnessed this action, the growing PR practitioner inside me was uneasy. Potential headlines, tweets and videos criticizing and emphasizing the incident filled my brain. This impulse decision by Mayfield was definitely not the smartest or most positive action from a PR standpoint.
However, I think the incident was handled well. I believe Mayfield’s apology was deeply necessary, appropriate and smart, and as a representative for the University, I would of encouraged him to do the same thing.
The pros definitely outweighed the cons when it comes to his apology. Although some fans don’t agree with the apology, many other fans were embarrassed by this impulse action. Also, fans from other schools, especially Ohio State, were not too pleased. By apologizing, Mayfield slightly made up for his actions and solved the controversy.
Attached below are clips of both the infamous “flag plant” and Mayfield’s apology.
I would love to hear your opinion on the incident in the comments below.