University of Florida fans and media are mystified over Emmitt Smith failing to make a single reference to his three years in Gainesville during his Hall of Fame speech yesterday in Canton - despite current Gators coach Urban Meyer being in attendance.
(Ask Steve Spurrier, he knows)
GAINESVILLE (FL) SUN reporter Pat Dooley, who covered Smith at Florida, wasn’t subtle in his reaction to Smith’s snub:
“Apparently Emmitt went from Escambia directly to the Cowboys. Wow, I wasted my time covering some other guy wearing 22 from 87-89.”
That comment prompted UF alumna Erin Andrews to wonder to Dooley:
“@pat_dooley do u think it was intentional?? I can’t figure it out..”
Dooley’s reply to Andrews and others:
@ErinAndrews Hard to fathom. He’s run hot and cold with UF since he left. But when he retired he mentioned everyone down to SID secretary … Emmitt and UF have had a rocky relationship but I thought it was patched up by Urban. Maybe he just forgot. Or maybe not. … it’s been a shaky deal ever since he left and spurrier didn’t beg him to play senior year.
Florida fan reaction was far less subtle, bordering on outrage.
Ethan Skolnick of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL presented another theory:
The snub made news on Twitter, with UF students and alumni expressing their disappointment and confusion. Smith, after all, is in the Gators’ Ring of Honor, though he didn’t show up for that ceremony. And current Gators coach Urban Meyer was in attendance Saturday night.
I don’t have many inside connections at Florida, but a few media friends of mine do. And their strong suspicion, based on some recent circumstances, is that the snub was due to Smith’s strained relationship with Florida AD Jeremy Foley.
Smith missed that Ring of Honor ceremony because of what he claimed at the time was a practice commitment to Dancing with the Stars.
But in talking to multiple sources today, including Florida athletic dept. officials, I have no doubt that Smith purposefully snubbed Florida and that Ring of Honor ceremony for one reason. Read more…