Current Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:23:02 -0400
Shakeel Rashad, freshman bandit on the North Carolina football team, has been suspended for one game by the Atlantic Coast Conference for his contact with Duke wide receiver Conner Vernon on Saturday.
In the second quarter of UNC’s 33-30 loss at Wallace Wade Stadium, Rashad was late getting on to the field and while trying to get to the Tar Heels’ side of the line of scrimmage ran into the Blue Devil receiver.
Vernon was not injured on the play.
“We are certainly glad that Conner Vernon was not injured. I spoke to Shakeel in the locker room after the game and he was obviously upset about making contact, but insisted that it unintentional and a result of rushing to get on the field as quickly he could,” UNC Athleic Director Bubba Cunningham said in a release. “We are disappointed with the decision to suspend him for a game. I don’t understand how the conference can suspend a player who was involved in such an unusual play without speaking to him.”
Cunningham, coach Larry Fedora and Rashad insist the play was unintentional but, if nothing else, it was a very odd play.
Right before Rashad made contact with Vernon he appeared to drop his shoulder. Fedora said he was just trying to get out of the way and that if he had been more athletic maybe he could have.
Rashad issued an apology for the incident in a release on Monday.
“I want to apologize to Duke’s Conner Vernon for running into him during Saturday’s game. I was in a hurry to get on the field and focused on where I was going. I have been playing football for most of my life and I have never been involved in that type of incident. I did not mean to run into him and I’m glad he was not hurt. He’s a great receiver and I wish him the best.”