LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb apologized Tuesday for using Twitter to lash out at fans following an upset of South Carolina last weekend.
Cobb sent out a series of tweets following the game in which he chastised fans for coming late, leaving early and being more concerned about the school's basketball team.
He said it took him "two or three minutes" after sending the tweets to realize he had spoken irresponsibly. He almost immediately removed the messages.
Cobb, who scored the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute to go, says "99.9 percent" of the fans are great and that he made a mistake.
"I just took a small chunk and made it something big," Cobb said. "I can't do that. I made a mistake. I'm a man, I admit my mistake, and I want to come out and let everybody know that I'm sorry. I hope (the fans) can forgive me."
The junior wide receiver has earned a reputation as one of college football's most versatile players. Through seven games this season, he has five receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdown, three as a passer and one punt return touchdown. His 24-yard touchdown catch with just over a minute left against South Carolina gave Kentucky its lead.
His tweets after the game said:
"To all the fans: loved seein Yall come late, love hearing Yall tell us we suck during the game, love that we have to play against our own fans too! Love that we can't pack the house when we play the 10 team in the nation. It means that much more to me. I love my team! Brotherhood they got my back n I got they back. The rest of Yall can get ready for bball season! Don't say u support n do all those things! Yeah I'm level 9 (upset)... so deal w it! Not blaming all but Yall know who I'm talking abt- Yall know I love bbn but something needed to be said."
Head coach Joker Phillips defended Cobb, saying that a college junior doesn't always know how to take criticism in stride. "Me, I'm 47 and I'm just now figuring out to tune out all the negative things that come at me," Phillips said.
Wide receiver La'Rod King, who scored two touchdowns Saturday, sent a tweet on Monday night which said: "Welp looks like no more twitter for us." He said Tuesday that was his decision and that the situation had been blown out of proportion.
"All that stuff is, that's our personal life, but people have their opinion and it got out," King said. "As an athlete, we got to realize we're held to a higher standard."
Phillips considered a team-wide Twitter ban but opted against it because he considers it a means for the players to express themselves when used properly. And because so many of Phillips' players use Twitter, he said a ban would be almost impossible to enforce. Phillips himself has a Twitter account, but he has only sent six tweets since September 1.
Phillips also said when used properly, Twitter can be used for the players to have fun and express themselves. He asked a group of about 15 reporters Tuesday if anyone didn't follow Cobb on Twitter. The group was silent.
"I rest my case," Phillips said.