It probably didn't get the play here that it deserved, but one of the resounding images of the Texas Longhorns victory over Ole Miss on Saturday night was senior wide receiver Marquise Goodwin scoring on his long touchdown run, then doing something as he entered the endzone that angered a Marine standing there.
What exactly Goodwin did has been up for some debate. There's a picture of Goodwin from the game making the "shh" sign, though there don't appear to be any photographers in the shot from ESPN, while some speculation held that he saluted the Marine, though that also is not clear from the angle shown above.
Goodwin wasn't available to the media this week, so no one has had a chance to ask him about, but some intrepid reporting from SB Nation earned an exclusive from the Marine in question, Iraq War veteran Stephen Roberts, a gunnery sergeant who has been a Marine since he was old enough to enlist, who explained his side of the story.
Here's what Roberts said:
As he ran toward me, I could see him start to make the 'shhhhh' motion holding his hand up. I knew behind me was the Texas fan section, and he was staring straight ahead. So I'm thinking, well, I know he’s not 'shhhh-ing' his own people.
Makes sense, as Goodwin was indeed headed towards the endzone where the Longhorn band was situated, as well as about a third of the Texas fans in attendance. And certainly an unnecessary gesture if it was directed at the Marine -- as Roberts says, there weren't many Ole Miss fans in that part of the stadium.
But it was the reaction from Roberts, his hands on his hips, his mouth agape in full-throated disgust, his rage rattling his hat around on his shaven dome, that has led to internet infamy.
As an instructor with the Ole Miss NROTC program and a winner of the Gung Ho award on three separate occasions, Roberts is probably no stranger to loud bouts of such righteous displays as the one he put on Saturday, which he described, apparently, with a good-natured laugh:
It was hey, don’t hush me, because Marines, well ... we don’t like to be hushed.
Fair enough, sir. And probably very true.
The author of the piece, Steven Godfrey, describes the Roberts he experienced during the conversation:
Despite the perception created by his newfound fame, Roberts is incredibly affable and not at all scream-y in conversation. He also holds zero ill will towards Texas, and mentioned he spoke to head coachbefore the game, as one of Roberts' friends had escorted Brown and other college coaches on a visit to military personnel a few years ago.
If there were any concerns about Roberts being a little too fan-ish on the sidelines there, Roberts cracked a joke about his rabidness, or relative lack thereof:
I'm not the Alabama guy who poisons trees. There will be no Longhorn hunting, or eating Longhorn steaks, I promise.
Good to know.
So, from Longhorn Nation, apologies if Goodwin's gesture was made in your direction, and thank you for your service, Sergeant Roberts.