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Sports opinion: Why apologize Baker? You earned the flag plant!

Rewind one year to September 2016. Ohio State visits Norman to take on Oklahoma in one of the most anticipated college football games of the year.

Instead of being an instant classic like everyone had hoped for, the Buckeyes dismantled the Sooners in front of the largest crowd to watch a sporting event in the history of the state with a 45-24 domination at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

It was arguably the best non-conference win of the season by any college football program, and Ohio State wasn’t shy about letting Oklahoma and the OU faithful know what they had just done to their beloved Sooners in their own backyard.

The Buckeye players danced around on Owen Field like they owned the place, mocked Sooner fans and players and then sang its university fight song while standing on the sacred grass that covers Memorial Stadium.

Simply put, Ohio State embarrassed Oklahoma during the game and then made the decision to rub it in the faces of the Sooner players and OU fans with its postgame celebration.

The Sooners remembered every second of it.

Fast forward to September of this year, Oklahoma entered the season as a preseason top-10 ranked team with an outside shot of making it to the College Football Playoff.

The Sooners dismantled UTEP as expected in Week One in Norman, which set up the much-awaited rematch with the Buckeyes in Columbus.

All week, Oklahoma players listened to and read comments from both national and local media outlets saying the Sooners had virtually no chance at going into the Horseshoe and pulling off the upset. In fact, most people were saying if OU could play well and keep the game close and not get blown off of the field, it would be a successful night for the Sooners.

What people seemed to so easily forget is that Oklahoma is an elite program just like Ohio State with elite-level talent on both sides of the ball with a big time playmaker at quarterback, who had something to prove in Columbus along with the rest of his teammates.

Oklahoma sent a clear message to the rest of the nation. The Sooners dominated the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball from the opening snap until the clock hit all zeros in the fourth quarter with a 31-16 beat down in Columbus.

The Sooners played with an edge that I haven’t seen an Oklahoma football team play with since Bob Stoops’ early days in Norman. Not only did OU send a clear message to the rest of the country that they are a clear-cut favorite to make it to the College Football Playoff this year but they sent a message to Ohio State that they did not appreciate what happened last year after the game on their home turf.

Baker Mayfield and his teammates celebrated with their band, cheerleaders and fans that made the journey to Columbus on the field, and then Mayfield showed his true guts.

The Sooner quarterback, who had just torched the Buckeyes, took the OU flag and ran around the outskirts of the field and then, with teammates surrounding him, took the flag to midfield and planted it in the middle of the “O”.

It was the flag stamp heard around the world. Immediately, ESPN announces Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit made comments on how they didn’t approve of Mayfield’s actions.

Social media outlets, radio and television stations across the nation began showing and discussing highlights of the flag stamp rather than the actual game. People across the country were debating whether or not Mayfield should have done it.

For the most part, it was about 50/50 on who said he should have and who said he shouldn’t have done the flag stamp.

Me, personally, I had no problem with it because he earned it and the Sooners earned it. They had gone into Columbus and beat a team that no one in the country thought they could beat. They beat a team they were supposed to just stay close with and not get blown out.

On the flip side, I had no problem with what Ohio State players did on Oklahoma’s field a year ago because they earned it. When you go into a hostile environment and dominant a team on their home field, everything is fair game.

No one in the media seemed to have a problem with what the Buckeyes did in Norman last year, so why are they upset about what Mayfield did?

Could it be because ESPN and the national media have a love fest with Ohio State? Or maybe it’s because they all believe the Horseshoe is a more sacred place than Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Either way, neither the Buckeyes nor Mayfield and the Sooners were wrong in their postgame celebrations.

Monday, Mayfield spoke to the media at the weekly Oklahoma news conference. He issued a statement apologizing for his actions following Saturday’s game and for planting the flag. He said he meant “no disrespect” to Ohio State.

We don’t truthfully know why Mayfield apologized but there is speculation that the University of Oklahoma brass made him do it. That makes sense because Mayfield just doesn’t seem like the type of person to feel bad about planting the flag.

The fact is, it was disrespectful to Ohio State, and it should have been, because OU was disrespected last year when the Buckeyes did their dance on Owen Field.

If it is true that the OU leaders forced Mayfield to apologize, then shame on them. We live in a sissified, politically correct world now where people have to walk on egg shells with anything they do or say, especially if they are public figures like Mayfield.

Because of that, Oklahoma leaders did not have their quarterback’s back, but instead, they made him do something he should not have had to do, apologize for embarrassing Ohio State and their so-called “sacred” field.

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