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Paul Finebaum criticized over Jadeveon Clowney comments

Kim Klement / USA Today Sports
South Carolina's athletic director is unhappy with some of the criticism of Jadeveon Clowney.

As if Jadeveon Clowney needed any more attention, the South Carolina star defensive end found himself as an unwitting corner of a triangular controversy involving ESPN radio voice Paul Finebaum and South Carolina director of athletics Ray Tanner.

Earlier in the week, regarding Clowney's last-minute decision not to play against Kentucky last Saturday, Finebaum described Clowney on air as "the biggest joke in college football."

Clowney was criticized by coach Steve Spurrier over the weekend for what amounted to a protocol violation, as Clowney apparently surprised both the Gamecocks training staff and coaching staff with the news that he was unable to play in the hours before the game. Typically, players work more closely during the week, and certainly much sooner than game day, so that injury statuses are clear to the coaching staff. Finebaum's comment came on the heels of that, along with criticism from other media, although it was only Finebaum's pointed remark that drew Tanner's attention.

"It was really a hateful comment," Tanner told "It was inappropriate. It was unprofessional, and it was unnecessary. I don't know how you make any kind of comment about a student-athlete along those lines."

Tanner also indicated that Finebaum's forthcoming status as a member of the SEC Network creates a conflict with comments such as the ones he made.

"My understanding is he will be a part of the network going forward, and there are 13 other ADs in the SEC, and I am not so sure they feel much differently than I feel about the situation," Tanner added. "Analyze, investigate, speculate. I understand that from the media, but to call out a student-athlete in the fashion he did is inappropriate."

Tanner said he would complain to SEC commissioner Mike Slive.

Clowney practiced during the week with a muscle strain in his rib area, the same injury which compelled him to sit out the Kentucky game. He played Saturday against Arkansas.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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