Earlier today I reported that Florida fans and media were perplexed, and in some cases upset, that Emmitt Smith failed to mention the University of Florida during his Hall of Fame speech in Canton on Saturday.
Sources subsequently indicated to me that Smith’s falling out with former Florida football coach Steve Spurrier contributed to the apparent snub. I was also told that that lingering feud resulted in Smith not attending the ceremony for his induction into the Univ. of Florida football’s Ring of Honor in 2006 at Florida Field.
In the aftermath of the public reaction to his Hall of Fame speech, Smith apologized today on his official Twitter.com account. Smith sent out three Tweets to that effect:
I sincerely sincerely apologize for not mentioning u last night in my hof speech Gator Nation
once a GATOR always a GATOR I loved everything the U of florida gave me
I jus got caught up in everything plz charge it to my mind not my heart!!
While an admirable gesture by Smith, it’s still hard to believe that someone who reportedly spent up to 100 hours preparing for his HOF induction speech would commit such an egregious oversight.
That said, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports today of the apparent snub:
A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that Emmitt was pressed by the powers-that-be to trim some time from a speech that was poised to kiss 30 minutes, and that Smith simply forgot to mention Florida as he tried — without notes — to deliver his prepared remarks.
It’ll be interesting to see if in the future Smith himself clarifies why he left his alma mater out of the crowning achievement of his football career.