Every Florida Gators fan’s worst fears came true on Monday night when the Georgia Bulldogs seized the College Football Playoff national championship from the Alabama Crimson Tide for their first title since 1980. To put that into perspective, Jimmy Carter was still the president of the United States when they last achieved that glory.
While fans draped in orange and blue sulked over a disappointing season that culminated with their beloved team losing to the Central Florida Knights in the Gasparilla Bowl, ‘Dawgs fans rejoiced for the first time in 41 years. Among those giving their hoots and hollers in response to the Black and Red’s triumph was an unexpected face — Florida basketball’s Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who was seen celebrating on an Instagram Live feed after the win.
As social media is wont to do, the Florida fanbase experienced a minor meltdown in response to the Gators guard’s elation over their most hated rival’s success. What most of them probably did not realize is that Fleming is from Athens, Georgia. You know, the city that UGA resides in. Not everyone exactly cared in light of that information, either.
In response, Fleming took the high road and announced his open apology on Twitter, expressing to the Gator Nation regret for his exuberant response to the Bulldogs’ historic win.
“To Gator Nation, I apologize for the uproar that my actions have caused. I grew up in Athens my entire life rooting for Georgia Football, and last night was an overjoyed reaction to the ending of the game. I am very grateful for the opportunity that the University Of Florida granted me and I am totally committed to the Gators. Again I am deeply sorry to the fans, the school, and the athletic department for any disrespect that my words or celebration have caused.”
While his celebration was certainly a faux pas in the grand scheme of things, given his connection to Georgia’s flagship university growing up, his response really should not be shocking to anyone — especially since he came to Florida through the transfer portal as opposed to traditional recruiting means.
Nonetheless, the fanbase will have eagle eyes on him until the Gators host the Bulldogs in the O’Connell Center on Feb. 9, when he gets a chance to prove his loyalty in front of the Rowdy Reptiles.