Urban Meyer suspends Florida LB Brandon Spikes for first half of Vandy game
Florida coach Urban Meyer has suspended senior LB Brandon Spikes for the first half of Saturday's game against Vanderbilt for his involvement in a tackle on Georgia's Washaun Ealey in which Spikes is pulling on Ealey's facemask with his fingers inside his helmet after the play is over.
"I don't condone that and I understand what goes on on the football [field], but there's no place for that,'' Meyer said. "We're going to suspend Brandon for the first half of the Vanderbilt game. I spoke with him. That's not who he is. That's not who we are. He got caught up in emotion. I love Brandon Spikes. Our team does. We're going to move on. He has our full support.''
Meyer said he spoike with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Monday morning. Asked if Spikes was retaliating against Georgia for an earlier play, Meyer said "yeah.''
"The Southeastern Conference has reviewed and accepted the disciplinary actions taken by the University of Florida regarding football student-athlete Brandon Spikes,'' the SEC said in a statement. "
Florida is off on Monday and Spikes was not available for comment, but issued a statement expressing regret for the incident.
"I accept responsibility for my actions and I accept the consequences of my actions,'' he said. "I would like to apolotize to my team and the coaching staff and Washaun Ealey. Football is a very physical and emotional game, but there is no excuse for my actions.''
Spikes became embroiled in the national controversy after a clip was released on YouTube with CBS video that shows him with his fingers inside Ealey's helmet as the two are in a pile following a tackle.
Earlier in the game, Spikes had his helmet ripped off during a play. There were five personal fouls called in the game, four in the first half. Georgia was called for three, Florida had two. At one point in the second quarter, officials gathered Florida QB Tim Tebow and Georgia LB Marcus Dowtin and warned them about things getting out of hand.
Tebow said while he doesn't condone Spikes' behavior, Saturday's game was emotionally-charged and things were happening on both sides.
"I don't think that we did anything in that game that they didn't do,'' Tebow said. "If you go back and look at it and study it, you can see it in the film, too, It was an intense game, both teams were very passionate about it.''
The YouTube video is here.