Sorry, Longhorns: Hook ’Em should now be a 15-yard penalty, too

Star-Telegram - - Front Page - BY MAC ENGEL ten­[email protected]­

We have reached that point in Crazy Snowflake World where Texas should now be pe­nal­ized 15 yards if any player or coach flashes the Hook ’Em sign.

To many out there, a Hook ’Em is nei­ther cool, nor is it OK.

To many out there, a Hook ’Em is dis­re­spect­ful and hurt­ful.

If “Horns Down” mer­its a penalty for un­sport­man­like con­duct be­cause it’s taunt­ing, then a Hook ’Em Horns is, too. Both ges­tures are deeply of­fen­sive, should be con­sid­ered un­sporstman­like con­duct and are wor­thy of a penalty.

Ev­ery Big 12 coach out­side of Austin should be all over this, im­me­di­ately.

As a non-Texas alum, I have al­ways been deeply hurt and of­fended by the Hook ’Em ges­ture; it’s taunt­ing, and the Horns should be pun­ished ev­ery time a player or coach flashes the sign.

The per­son in the mid­dle of this cri­sis? My Tommy Boy.

Ok­la­homa coach Lin­coln Ri­ley said dur­ing his weekly ra­dio show in Nor­man on Tues­day that he called the Big 12 of­fice just to make sure: Yes, his team will be pe­nal­ized 15 yards for un­sporstman­like con­duct if a player flashes the Horns Down sign dur­ing the Soon­ers’ game against Texas in the Big 12 cham­pi­onship.

At this point, you are free to scream, “I hate ev­ery­body.”

Ev­ery sin­gle eye of Texas should be em­bar­rassed and ashamed that any coach or player has made Horns Down an is­sue. If you think Hook ’Em is not taunt­ing, nei­ther is Horns Down.

Former Texas coach Dar­rell K.

Royal once said, “Foot­ball doesn’t build char­ac­ter. It elim­i­nates the weak ones.”

Com­plain­ing about a Horns Down is not only not foot­ball, it’s weak. If the great DKR could deal with Horns Down, so can Tom Her­man.

It’s funny that Her­man would be of­fended by a Horns Down, but he was per­fectly OK, as the

mock­ing and taunt­ing Mis­souri quar­ter­back Drew Lock in the 2017 Texas Bowl.

The adult in this sit­u­a­tion would not talk about his be­hav­ior af­ter that game, but the kid, Lock, said he was fine with Her­man’s an­tics.

All head coaches are do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do hyp­ocrites to some de­gree, but Her­man should be bet­ter than whin­ing about a silly hand ges­ture.

And you would think some­where former Soon­ers coach Barry Switzer is curs­ing a blue streak over this pa­thetic Horns Down rev­e­la­tion. He is.

Switzer told The Ath­letic that the Hook ’Em to Horns Down ex­change is like “if some­one gives you the fin­ger, you give it right back.”

Amen, coach. Done and done, and get on to the next play, or game.

Horns Down is the em­bod­i­ment of sports­man­ship, and sports fun. There is no spe­cific lan­guage writ­ten in the NCAA or Big 12 by­laws that states such a ges­ture is wor­thy of a penalty. Be­cause, de­spite their zeal for leg­is­la­tion, nei­ther the NCAA nor the Big 12 would con­sider such lan­guage ne­c­es­sary.

This cri­sis of child­ish be­hav­ior be­gan when West Vir­ginia ral­lied to de­feat UT in Austin on Nov. 3. The Moun­taineers were flagged twice for mak­ing the ges­ture dur­ing their win, even though WVU coach Dana Hol­gersen said he in­formed the game of­fi­cials the play­ers planned to use it at least once as a play sig­nal.

Her­man was crit­i­cal of the Horns Down ges­ture flashed by the West Vir­ginia play­ers; he thought as much when WVU quar­ter­back Will Grier flashed it as he scored a two-point con­ver­sion that beat the Longhorns at the end of the game. Her­man said he thought it was taunt­ing. He’s right. It is.

Here is an idea: Stop Grier from scor­ing, or deal with it like DKR, and tell your play­ers that’s part of play­ing at the Univer­sity of Texas.

Her­man’s pre­de­ces­sor at Texas, new North Carolina coach Mack Brown, al­ways thought that Horns Down was dis­re­spect­ful and should be eval­u­ated by the league.

I al­ways thought Hook ’Em was dis­re­spect­ful and should be eval­u­ated by the Big 12, NCAA, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the Vat­i­can, too.

This is why Fox News is a thriv­ing en­ter­prise: The snowflakes al­ways give them hours of free ma­te­rial and talk­ing points over empty is­sues and non­con­se­quen­tial sce­nar­ios.

When the Big 12 con­venes af­ter the sea­son, the coaches and ad­min­is­tra­tors have a le­git­i­mate decision to make: If Horns Down mer­its a 15-yard flag, so must a good ol’ fash­ioned Hook ’Em.

Ei­ther both ges­tures are taunt­ing, and should be pe­nal­ized, or men like Her­man and all UTers sim­ply must do what their pre­de­ces­sors have al­ways done: Deal with it.

Com­mon sense says to al­low Horns Down to live un­pe­nal­ized, just as a Hook ’Em.



Hook ’Em.


Texas play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter de­feat­ing Ok­la­homa 48-45 at the Cot­ton Bowl on Oct. 6. The teams meet again Satur­day at AT&T Sta­dium.

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