Over the last week, I’ve seen several comments on social media begging for Tennessee Vols athletic director Danny White to make a public comment about the injury that occurred to UT forward John Fulkerson in the SEC Tournament.
Fulkerson was diagnosed with a concussion and a facial fracture after he was on the receiving end of a brutal elbow from Florida Gators forward Omar Payne.
I have no problem with physical play but this is totally CLASSLESS from Florida against John Fulkerson. Get that kid out of the game pic.twitter.com/IpazoC0FZT
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 12, 2021
Payne was ejected from the game.
Typically, fans wouldn’t care about the thoughts of the athletic director in a situation like this.
But this isn’t a typical situation.
I’m guessing if Danny White wasn’t the brother of Florida’s head coach, then we wouldn’t see these kinds of tweets.
Ultimately, I think White has been wise to stay silent (publicly at least).
For one, Fulkerson and the Vols have moved on from the incident.
I know a lot of people are upset with what happened during yesterday’s game. Omar reached out to me this morning and was very remorseful. Everyone makes mistakes. Let’s all show grace and focus on today’s game. Go Vols!
— John Fulkerson (@fulkerson_john) March 13, 2021
“In the heat of battle, again, sometimes emotions can bring the worst out of you sometimes,” said Vols head coach Rick Barnes this week. “But, yeah, it’s over with. It’s done with. We’ll get on down the road.”
If the team has moved on, then fans should move on too. White publicly calling out the SEC to suspend Payne isn’t going to help the situation.
Now, is that a conversation that should happen behind closed doors?
Sure. It absolutely is. What Payne did to Fulkerson has no place in college basketball. But White getting in a public war of words with the conference (or Florida) isn’t going to help Tennessee in any way. In fact, it could hurt the program when it comes to future conference issues.
This isn’t White’s first rodeo. He knows how to handle tough situations. And I’m confident he’ll handle this situation just fine behind the scenes.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports