Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate said Wednesday he fully admits to fouling the Green Bay Packers’ Sam Shields when he shoved the defender to the ground before leaping to make the catch that gave his team a controversial 14-12 win on Monday night.
Tate earned himself the odd position of being viewed as a villain when he pulled in a 24-yard touchdown reception that gave Seattle the victory.
While Tate acknowledges getting away with the offensive pass interference penalty, the suggestion that he was trying to cheat is unfounded.
”I can’t control what other people say or do. I personally felt like I had the ball at that time and looking back just off of what I remember I felt like I had the ball in my hands,” Tate said. ”We both competed for the ball and the call ended up going our way and won the game. We’re 2-1 now, time to move forward. The Rams are the most important thing right now.”
The catch set off a storm of criticism and debate that has gone beyond the replacement official who awarded Tate the winning TD instead of giving an interception to Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings.
The call became a rallying point for players, coaches and fans frustrated with three weeks of replacement officials working regular season games. Every football pundit in the country has given their take on the final play. Late Wednesday night, the madness finally stopped when the league and its regular officials agreed on a deal. The officials will return in Week 4.
But stuck in the middle after Monday’s debacle was the 5-foot-10, third-year wide receiver out of Notre Dame, whose only crime was getting away with a blatant offensive pass interference shove on Shields, and then jumping with four other Packers to try and make a play on the final heave of the game.
Side judge Lance Easley called it a touchdown citing simultaneous possession, while back judge Derrick Rhone-Dunn waived his arms to stop the clock. Referee Wayne Elliott announced the play would be reviewed and after coming out from under the hood, said the ruling on the field of a touchdown stood.
Then the fire started.
Tate was asked if he could repeat some of what was directed toward him on social media after his disputed touchdown catch that lifted Seattle past Green Bay.
”If I mentioned those words it would be bleeps, bleeps, bleeps,” Tate said Wednesday. ”Some nasty stuff. It’s mean.”
This is the second straight week Tate has found himself the center of attention after an on-field incident. Last week it was a crushing block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee that drew Tate a $21,000 fine that he is appealing.
The criticism and debate that came with Tate’s block on Lee seems tame compared to the vitriol being thrown toward him for the disputed touchdown.
”I definitely believe everyone knows who Golden Tate is now,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.
Tate estimated he picked up an additional 5 or 6,000 Twitter followers in the last few days and didn’t need to see the constant loop of replays and deliberation on television because the few times he checked his Twitter account told him just how hot the issue was.
It wasn’t always a pleasant read.
”There are moments where it’s been tough but when you have family in the locker room and in this building it makes it easier. It hasn’t been too bad. My feelings have been hurt a little bit on Twitter but it’s whatever,” Tate said.
Asked later what some of those things were, Tate gave a few details.
”I’ve been called a cheater, I don’t have any dignity, I’m not a Christian, a lot of hurtful things,” he said.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he thinks Tate has handled the situation well considering he was being asked for his reaction only seconds after the game ended.
”I thought he handled himself as well as he could considering the craziness of the circumstances,” Carroll said. ”I’ve been with him. He’s one of my guys that I hang around with a lot and we’ve gone through this to make sure he’s solid and all. I think he’s going to be just fine. I think he’s very humble and excited to be in this opportunity.”