Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware downplayed Christian Wilkins groping an Ohio State player, as well as himself grabbing South Carolina offensive lineman Zack Bailey by the butt, when he met with the media on Wednesday.
Boulware said it is something the Tigers have done all year to mess with players.
“Is that really that big of a deal? People that are blowing that up have never played the game, or like I said, went into the bathroom stalls to change because they were scared to change in front of their teammates,” Boulware said. “Me and Christian have fun out there. That’s how we play the game… It’s something we do, just have fun. It might look weird or homosexual to others, but it’s just fun out there. We just like to have fun.”
Boulware added that Wilkins might have gone a bit over the top by making his grab so obvious.
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“No one’s probably done it as aggressive as Christian did,” Boulware said. “We try to be a little more discrete about it and like poke somebody. He definitely grabbed a handful.”
Wilkins, a Clemson defensive end, has apologized for groping receiver Curtis Samuel during the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night.
Wilkins said Wednesday he had talked with Samuel after the game and that everything was all right between them. Wilkins was seen on video grabbing Samuel’s rear and reaching his hand between the receiver’s legs while Samuel was on the ground after teammates had tackled him in the Tigers’ 31-0 victory.
Wilkins said he was sorry and understood it was not “a good look” for him or the program.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he was sure it would not happen again and chalked it up to Wilkins’ goofy nature.
“We don’t have a better young man on the team than Christian Wilkins,” Swinney said. “Apologized for it, apologized to the kid, that’s really it.”
Bailey tweeted out a video of Boulware poking him in the butt after Wilkins’ incident on Saturday.
“I did it against USC where the dude tweeted it,” Boulware said. “I just poked him in the butt. It’s something we do just to mess with players just to kind of break up the seriousness of the game.”
Boulware also said that poking someone in the butt is better than what happens at the bottom of some piles.
“Would you rather me poke you in the belly button or grab your butt, rather than me stomp on your ankle or kick you in the area?” he said. “I have a whole video compilation of me messing with offensive linemen or players. I’ve never done it as aggressive as Christian did it. I would just poke them. But it’s something we do just to mess around out there. It’s gained some unwanted attention.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.