By Bill Swartz
University of Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has decided to forgive and forget after an ugly incident following a thrilling Apple Cup game in Pullman.
As Washington State fans stormed the field to celebrate the upset win over the rival Huskies, a video captured a man running up to Seferian-Jenkins and sucker punching him. The blow was strong enough to knock the 6-foot-6, 266-pound sophomore to the ground.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins was punched in the head by a fan who had rushed the field following the Apple Cup. (AP)
The WSU police department said it was investigating the incident but no arrests have been made. The school’s athletic department has also said it will review its policies concerning postgame security.
Seferian-Jenkins said the punch is a thing of the past, and he has no interest in punishing the offender.
“I told them not to pursue anything. He was probably intoxicated or something like that,” Seferian-Jenkins said at Monday’s practice. “I’m not really worried about it. I’m over it.”
As a WSU alum, I’m embarrassed and concerned about the man who could have harmed the career of a bright, talented athlete.
When I was a radio sideline reporter, I was nearly struck by ice and bottles following two Washington-Washington State games, both in Seattle and Pullman. If inebriated fans are allowed to rush the field after the game, the potential is always there for trouble.
Seferian-Jenkins has an interesting view on that tradition.
“Some people want to stop fans from rushing the field. I think you should still let fans rush the field — that’s part of college football and what makes it special,” he said.
Seferian-Jenkins has good reason to move on. He and the Huskies are preparing to play Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22. The Fox Island, Wash. native will no doubt wind up making huge dollars in the NFL some day.
For now, Seferian-Jenkins has shown the type of class I wish all Huskies and Cougars could display before, during, and after the fierce rival game. Remember, it’s just a game.