ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit blasts Mike Leach, says he 'should be embarrassed' after Mississippi State brawl

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3-min read

Mississippi State delivered all kinds of bad looks during a postgame brawl following their Armed Forces Bowl win over Tulsa, and Kirk Herbstreit thinks one man in particular is culpable.

The ESPN commentator, working from home after testing positive for COVID-19, took Mississippi State coach Mike Leach to task during Friday’s “College GameDay” ahead of the College Football Playoff. Herbstreit said Leach “should be embarrassed” and called the brawl a “black eye for college football.”

Herbstreit’s words:

“Mike Leach should be embarrassed. His postgame interview, and what he said, 'Hey, it's football. Hey, it's physical. It's going to happen.' Are you kidding me, Mike? You should be embarrassed about your program and what it did. And then after the game, the guy is being proud, high-fiving, walking off?

“This is a black eye for the sport. Maybe you don't care about the sport, dude. It's as bad as it could be watching that for people that are sitting around watching college football and that breaks out. It's just another black eye for college football.”

The comments came less than 24 hours after the incident in Fort Worth.

Mike Leach was taking photos during Mississippi State brawl

Members of Tulsa and Mississippi State fight after time runs out in Armed Forces Bowl NCAA college football game Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. Mississippi State won 28-26. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
Mississippi State's post-bowl game brawl was as ugly as it gets. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)

In the moments after a 28-26 win over Tulsa, a massive brawl erupted between the two teams in which several punches were thrown on both sides. The fight was eventually broken up by law enforcement officers working as security on the field.

The lowest moment came when Mississippi State’s Malik Heath kicked a Tulsa player in the face and then ran away. Heath could later be seen in the locker room bragging about kicking the player while he was on the ground, replaying video of his kick and repeatedly calling the other player a “b----.”

When the fights began, Leach was far away from his players, taking pictures with mask-less fans in the stands during a pandemic.

When asked about his message to his team after the brawl, Leach bluntly replied, “Don’t do it anymore,” before appearing to minimize the impact:

“This is a football game so we’re not going to be tearing cloth over this deal,” Leach said before leaving the field. “Somebody went to a football game and somebody got hit. There’s a point where I’m not going to lose my mind over it. I just don’t like that we’re undisciplined in some situations where if you control yourself mentally and emotionally you put yourself in a better position.”

That clearly wasn’t enough for Herbstreit.

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