In the middle of what was a grand day for Florida football, a 30-10 win against Arkansas on Oct. 5, Gators center Jonotthan Harrison hit what appeared to be a low point when he was ejected in the third quarter for making contact with an official.
But in his first comments to the media on the incident since it happened, Harrison on Tuesday alleged the impetus for the ejection was actually something far more disturbing.
"One play I got face-masked, then the next play I got called every version of the ‘N-word’ known to man," Harrison said. "I went up to the ref and I’m like, ‘Ref, please, you have to control this player. He’s been calling me every racial slur.’"
"I was honestly just trying to tell the ref to get this player because I was getting attacked, I felt like I was getting harassed, and it was beyond football," Harrison told the Sentinel.
While Harrison, a senior who has started 35 games, did not identify the player he claimed used the racial slur, according to the site gatorbait.net this is how the episode unfolded:
On the play Harrison referred to prior to his ejection, he came free to the second level and blocked linebacker Braylon Mitchell. As the TV broadcast pans away from Harrison, his head is visibly yanked.
Harrison was ejected one play later.
On the play Harrison was ejected, Arkansas linebacker Austin Jones lines up over Harrison’s left shoulder and Harrison blocks him slightly before going to the second level to block on a screen pass for Mack Brown. At the end of the play, Harrison dives at the feet of linebacker Jarrett Lake and then gets up to speak with a referee.
"I didn’t even know I got ejected. I was sitting on the sideline talking to the coach and I heard my number, and then they just walked me off the field. There was no malicious intent. I wasn’t trying to be an A-hole or anything like that. I was honestly just trying to tell the ref to get this player because I was getting attacked, I felt like I was getting harassed, and it was beyond football."