Everything about Muschamp’s voting comment was overblown
South Carolina’s head coach actually did discuss the election with his team, according to one player. South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp fell under scrutiny for his response when asked about voting on Election Day. Me to Will Muschamp: "How have you addressed voting with your team?"Muschamp: No responseMe: "You know there's an election today?"Muschamp: "I do now. I'm getting ready for Florida."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) November 6, 2018 For starters, this is a completely fair and timely question by Josh Kendall. This was obviously the biggest news story of the day with huge national significance. Kendall got some criticism online for asking the question in the first place, but like, come on, it’s not like he knew Muschamp would answer the way he did. But the bigger storyline here is how folks criticized Muschamp’s response to the question. A lot of the sentiments centered around as a head coach in charge of molding and influencing of young men, he should be addressing bigger issues such as voting. One of the more outspoken critics was former UNC and NFL defensive back Bucky Brooks: It goes beyond the field.. If a coach says he’s about developing future leaders, etc., he should teach them how to be leaders on and off the field.. the values carry over— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) November 7, 2018 You’re missing my point. I never said that he should make his players vote. However, I do believe he should discuss “hot” topics to educate his players. Whether it’s voting, domestic violence, sexual assault or any other topics that are common place, coaches can educate & inform https://t.co/7KOlPGilYi— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) November 8, 2018 This was a common sentiment throughout Twitter over the next few days. But as someone who covered Muschamp for three years while at the University of Florida, I can confidently tell you I expected nothing less from his answer, too. Sure, I assumed he at least knew Nov. 6 was Election Day, but this is pretty par for the course as far as Muschamp being very much just a football coach. Once during a press conference in 2014 when asked about Northwestern football’s unionizing — at the time a pretty significant story in the news cycle — he said this: Muschamp's full response when asked about Northwestern today. Pretty much what you'd expect it to be coming from him pic.twitter.com/ddLZ4yhasG— Morgan Moriarty (@Morgan_Moriarty) March 29, 2014 And back in 2011, he clearly was not up on Star Wars references: But here’s the big thing: it’s not like his players were completely out of the loop. Here’s Gamecock safety Steven Montac saying coaches indeed encouraged players to vote. By the way, this is Steven Montac's response on if Will Muschamp talked to his team about voting. pic.twitter.com/7YIPqUz4nS— Collyn Taylor (@collyntaylor) November 7, 2018 “Whenever you get a chance just make sure you go vote the people from South Carolina. I mean, it’s kind of out of our hands people not from South Carolina to go vote, but he definitely told us that South Carolina people to go vote.” Linebacker TJ Brunson made it to the polls. too: My first celebrity pic of the day! Great witnessing @RNECavaliers @RichlandTwo graduate @6runson’s first time voting. #RichlandTwoProid #RockTheVote pic.twitter.com/YGW3oL9KBi— Amelia B. McKie (@AmeliaBMcKie) November 6, 2018 And Muschamp isn’t the only head coach who claimed he wasn’t proactive in telling his players about voting, either (based on Montac’s response, Muschamp very well could’ve just been putting on a show for the media). Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt didn’t get much heat for this: Jeremy Pruitt was asked if he has talked to his team about voting: “No, I have not.”— Mike Wilson (@ByMikeWilson) November 5, 2018 Look, I understand where the Muschamp criticism is coming from — if you’re a head coach of a college football team, you’re both responsible for coaching and molding young men. That includes instilling awareness about bigger societal issues. And it’s not like Muschamp hasn’t done that — in August before the 2018, he had Brenda Tracy, a national advocate and voice on sexual assault, come in speak to his team. He also spoke to his players about the NFL protests last season, and how important free speech is in America. Should Muschamp have been a little clearer about where his team stood on Election Day? Sure. But let’s not assume one of the most player-beloved coaches in college football didn’t actually discuss the issue with his team, and let’s not act shocked if Muschamp says he’s not up on the latest news.