The Pac-12 has reprimanded USC QB Matt Barkley for saying last week that Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a "dirty" player.
A release from the conference said "Barkley has been reprimanded for his derogatory and inflammatory comments about an opponent."
Here is a statement from commissioner Larry Scott:
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12's policies on Sportsmanship and Standards of Conduct, which call for our student athletes to treat opponents with respect and create and ensure a collegiate atmosphere in which to conduct competition. In these circumstances, Mr. Barkley’s comments were a clear violation of Conference rules and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
USC also released a statement from coach Lane Kiffin:
"We talked to Matt right after he made that comment and told him that it was not appropriate. He understood. Despite this reprimand, Matt Barkley represents everything that is good about college athletics. He is one of the finest student-athletes I have ever been around. You will not find a person with higher character or values."
Barkley tried to explain himself to ESPN Los Angeles on Tuesday:
“Of course everyone blew it up, but what you didn’t hear is that it was coming from a place of respect for Vontaze," Barkley said. "I’ve played with him for so long. I know him as a player and a person and think he is a wonderful player, which is what I said. He played a great game.
"It doesn’t change what I said about him -- I think it’s still true -- but you’ve got to be careful because people twist your words and do whatever they want with them.”
USC also said that Barkley will face no further punishment.
Well, other than that interception Burfict got in the Sun Devils' victory.
My one editorial comment here is this: I think a little trash talking is fun. I've got no problem with the reprimand, either; that's what conference offices do. But it's just a sheet of paper. Hopefully, players will realize this and continue to say interesting colorful things instead of becoming boring robots.