By Cliff Brunt
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Quarterback Baker Mayfield has apologized for planting Oklahoma’s flag at midfield of Ohio State’s stadium following the Sooners’ victory over the Buckeyes.
After Saturday night’s 31-16 win, Mayfield ran around the fieldat Ohio Stadium with a crimson OU flag, took it to the “O” at midfield and stuck it in the ground as his teammates celebrated around him.
“It was an emotional game, and so after the game, I did not mean for it to be disrespectful toward any Ohio State people at all, especially not the team or the players,” Mayfield said Monday. “They’re a great team, a great program, so I didn’t mean for it to be disrespectful at all.”
Mayfield said the Sooners do the same thing with the flag when they play Texas, but that game is played at a neutral site in Dallas each year. Mayfield said he should have saved his celebration for the locker room.
“Obviously, if they did that here (in Norman), I’d be pissed, too,” he said. “Not surprised looking back on it. I understand why they’re very upset about it, but I didn’t mean it to be disrespectful in any way.”
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said he believes Mayfield’s apology was genuine.
“I know him well enough to know what he meant by it. Not anything disrespectful towards Ohio State. It was an emotional game, and it was him celebrating with his teammates. I know that’s why it happened.”
Riley said the incident shouldn’t overshadow the game. Mayfield, a Heisman finalist last season, threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns as No. 5 Oklahoma rallied to knock off the second-ranked Buckeyes . The Sooners have since moved up to No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll.
“It was a great atmosphere in Columbus,” Riley said. “They did a great job, and it was a fun game. I think you see by how many people watched it that the rest of the country agreed as well. So that, to me, should be the focus of what happened.”
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