South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer was spotted on camera yelling at female athletes to get off the field when they were being honored as part of the 50th anniversary of Title IX during Saturday’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Beamer apologized on Sunday, saying he was not aware the ceremony was set to take place and that he was caught up in the moment because his team was getting ready to attempt a fourth-down conversion.
“We were so immersed in trying to make a decision on what we were going to do,” Beamer said during his weekly teleconference. “I was worried about what was going on in our own offensive huddle. I apologize to anyone that I offended. That was just my initial reaction.”
The incident happened during a TV timeout between the first and second quarter. It went viral after South Carolina soccer player Jyllissa Harris shared what happened on social media. Based off of Beamer’s reaction in the moment, she wrote that honoring female student athletes shouldn’t be just something a program does to “check a box” and that more effort should be put into it.
Beamer added that the game officials had told him to have his players lined up as soon as possible after the TV timeout concluded. But when the TV timeout was over, the female athletes who were being honored were still in the end zone. That’s when Beamer was caught on camera putting his arms up in frustration and yelling at the female athletes.
After the break, the Gamecocks failed to convert convert the fourth down, turning the ball over. It was not a great day for the Gamecocks, as Georgia ended up winning the game 48-7.
In a few other posts, Harris said she did not blame Beamer for how he reacted and that the real issue is how the program chose to do the bare minimum to honor the female athletes. Harris said Beamer has been “nothing but supportive of female sports.”
That is the same sentiment that the coach tried to emphasize in his apology, because he didn’t want the incident to make people think he doesn’t care about women’s sports.
“I hope people know me well enough to know what an advocate I am for women’s sports,” Beamer said. “I’ve got two daughters of my own that play sports. I’m at as many women’s athletic events here at Carolina as I possibly can be, because I believe in them and support them. Anyone who thinks otherwise surely doesn’t know me.”