Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is no stranger to controversy. But as photos surfaced of him allegedly disrespecting the Texas Longhorns’ famed “Hook Em” sign, in a handshake photo op with Texas head coach Charlie Strong, tempers certainly flared.
In 2012, former Texas head coach Mack Brown was asked about about the signage in a press conference, “The horns down is disrespectful,” Brown said. “We ought to talk about that as a league.”
Obviously reform to penalize disrespecting hand signs has yet to be passed (if ever). But most know that if it should happen, expect a tidal wave of aggressive and defensive fans to start an all-out war with the opposing base in retaliation.
Given the State of Texas in itself is seemingly always squaring up against the rest of the country about a vast assortment of issues, it’s no surprise at how many in the state came to Texas’ defense when this photo of Bielema and Charlie Strong was released:
Aaron Peters is a sports reporter for Razorback Nation and had nothing to gain from the post. But when backlash came accusing him of photoshopping the image to make Arkansas “look bad,” Peters posted a follow up:
Here is the last image blown up:
While Peters 100 percent stands by his photography and account of the event, Arkansas radio Host Bo Mattingly said he ran into Bielema and asked him about the controversial image, where he denied the “Horns Down” gesture, and said it “Appears to have been photoshopped.”
Whether Bielema did, in fact, do it, or… I don’t know, he was scratching his palm with his middle and ring fingers at that exact moment… or, one of them isn’t telling the truth — that’s completely up for debate. But one thing is for certain, the 6-6 Razorbacks are taking on the 6-6 Longhorns in the Advocate v100 Texas Bowl in Houston, Tex. on Monday, making this practically a home game for the Longhorns. So expect to see tensions higher than originally anticipated given the now elevated circumstances, both on the field, and in the stands.
*Section Photo credit to Wesley Hitt,Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Nelson Chenault, USA Today Sports.