During Saturday’s loss to the Florida Gators, University of Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel was caught on video appearing to twist the ankle of Gator QB Kyle Trask. Daniel issued a statement that he was simply trying to pull his hand free of a Florida offensive lineman. On Thursday, video surfaced of a different angle of the play in question that showed that there was more to it than Daniel simply removing his hand from the pile. It was clear that both of Daniel’s hands were on Trask’s ankle. And while the motion didn’t appear to be egregious, the video didn’t match the explanation.
The things that gone on within a tackling pile in football is legendary. Eye-gouging. Hand and ankle twisting. Genital grabbing. It’s a free for all. So, clearly, pretty much anything goes until the officials regain control and pull players off the pile. In that respect, Kash’s behavior isn’t that far out of line. Obviously, the intent shouldn’t be to attempt to injure an opponent. The focus of the discussion has moved from what happened on Saturday to the aftermath.
It’s often said that the coverup is as bad or maybe even worse than the crime itself. If Kash Daniel had simply said that things got heated during the game on Saturday and made an apology, the Big Blue Nation and the rest of the SEC would have been able to move on to this Saturday’s slate of games. Head coach Mark Stoops would have been able to spend his last media availability of the week talking about the Cats heading to Starkville to take the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Instead, the talk has been about whether or not Daniel is a dirty player (I don’t think so) or if the play was dirty (I think it was) or whether Daniel’s explanation was lacking (obviously). Instead, we have Ankle-Gate.
Coach Stoops decided to not suspend Daniel as some folks were asking for. At his Thursday press availability, Stoops stated that he had spoken with the SEC and that Kash Daniel would not miss a snap. Rightly or wrongly, Stoops is going to roll with his linebacker as Kentucky takes on Mississippi State. For all the grief that Duke’s Grayson Allen received from the BBN for tripping opponents, we can’t simply shrug our collective shoulders when one of our guys does something that crosses the line. The crime wasn’t that bad, the coverup was worse. At this point, there’s no sense dogpiling on Kash Daniel. Hopefully, the young man can learn from this situation and move forward.