On this Election Day, Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen has become like one of those frustrating, filibustering politicians who says and does inexplicable things that make you question his honesty and judgment.
He’s like President Donald Trump saying we’ve “turned the corner” on the pandemic when really we haven’t. He’s like Joe Biden saying he was once arrested in South Africa while trying to visit Nelson Mandela when really he wasn’t.
The latest Mullen misstep came Saturday night at the end of the first half of a resounding 41-17 victory over Missouri. After Florida quarterback Kyle Trask was hit late after he released a Hail Mary, officials mistakenly did not throw a flag and an enraged Mullen charged across the field toward the Missouri sideline to scream at officials. Mullen (not wearing a face mask, by the way) had to be held back by coaches and law enforcement, escalating a situation that turned into a melee, with multiple players from both teams exchanging blows.
To make matters worse, Mullen actually had the audacity to say that he didn’t think his actions were inappropriate. Fittingly dressed in a Darth Vader costume at his postgame Halloween night news conference, Mullen told reporters, “I was trying to get our players off the field to make sure we didn’t have issues and have a whole bunch of guys suspended.”
Uh, Dan, I don’t know if you realize this, but the game was on television and there were actually cameras recording you and video showing you losing your mind. Why are you simply making up a story that is obviously untrue? It would have been much more acceptable if you had just simply said, “I got emotional and lost my cool momentarily after seeing our quarterback get hit with a cheap shot. I need to do a better job of keeping my composure.”
Mullen got off easy Monday when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey reprimanded him and fined him a scant $25,000 — the same amount Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was fined recently for simply retweeting a critical comment about SEC officials. What Mullen did was much worse and should have merited a much heavier fine; if not a suspension. Of course, with the monumental Florida-Georgia game coming up this weekend, the SEC simply didn’t have the stomach to issue a suspension of UF’s head coach.
Said Mullen in a statement released by the team on Monday: “I respect the decision from the conference office. As the head coach, it is my responsibility to diffuse these types of situations, and I didn’t live up to that standard.”
Why couldn’t Mullen have come out with that statement after the game on Saturday instead of acting as if he did nothing wrong? This is just another recent blunder for Mullen, who has been an excellent football coach for the Gators, but he is quickly turning into a PR nightmare.
This isn’t the first time Mullen has had to backtrack after saying or doing something stupid in recent