HOUSTON – Texas Tech on Thursday denied claims by Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin that a Red Raiders player spit on one of his players and possibly used a racial slur in the Texas Bowl.
A scrum between the teams came after Ole Miss’ Dayton Wade fumbled in the fourth quarter Wednesday night and Texas Tech recovered. There was pushing and shoving between players and Ole Miss player Jordan Watkins was given a personal foul penalty.
After the game, which Ole Miss lost 42-25, Kiffin said the penalty should have been on Texas Tech senior linebacker Dimitri Moore instead of Watkins. Both players wear No. 11.
Kiffin said after the game at Watkins wasn’t in the fight, and that Moore was fighting Ole Miss lineman Jayden Williams and that “everybody knew” because Texas Tech coaches were yelling at their own player.
“There was a racial slur involved, that’s not the point of what we’re talking about, (it’s) about the spitting part,” Kiffin said. “I brought our own 71 (Williams) up to the officials, right or wrong, you see him crying? He’s not crying not because he got spit on, it’s because something was said.”
When asked to clarify if a Texas Tech player used a racial slur toward one of his players, Kiffin said he wasn’t sure.
“I’m not going to, because I did not hear it, (I’m not going to) say that that happened for sure that he gave a racial slur to our player,” Kiffin said. “I was told that that was said in that (incident) but I did not hear that. So that would obviously be a giant issue.”
Moore and Williams are both Black.
“We are disappointed an opposing head coach decided to insinuate serious allegations that are false and irresponsible,” Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire said in a statement released by the school Thursday. “I have discussed these allegations with Dimitri Moore, and he disputed the two claims that were brought forth against him.”
Moore, in an accompanying statement, said the allegations were untrue.
“I can’t state strongly enough that these accusations are false. It is disappointing to have my final game as a collegiate student-athlete overshadowed by the false accusations that were stated last night,” Moore said. “Since I have arrived at Texas Tech, I have strived to represent my teammates, this coaching staff and most importantly, my family, in the highest manner.”
Kiffin said he got so upset during the game because he didn’t believe it was fair that his player got a penalty that he thinks clearly should have been on someone else.
“I’m going to defend our players when a kid spits on them and is accused to a national audience that it’s him,” Kiffin said. “So, Jordan has to deal with this.”
McGuire was not asked about the incident after the game, but Kiffin said he spoke with him about the spitting after the game.
“If you actually watch over there one of them’s kind of laughing because he got off,” Kiffin said. “He’s screaming at the player, they’re losing their mind on him… I talked to their head coach afterwards, he was like: `Crazy officiating out there.’ I go: `Yeah that was really bad on that one that your guy spit and our guy got the penalty.’ He was like: `Yeah, I know.”‘