Virginia Union coach Mark James apologized to a journalist after one of his players slapped a phone out of the journalist’s hands during a post-game handshake that turned into a shoving match.
Virginia Union had just lost to Winston-Salem State, 21-20, in a tight, heated game. The teams are rivals, which explains why tensions boiled over in the immediate aftermath. (Fun fact: Ray Lewis’s son happens to play for Virginia Union.) When reporters tried to enter the field and take video of the action, members of the Virginia Union team confronted them and knocked their phones away.
Both John Dell of the Winston Salem-Journal and Steven Gaither of HBCU Gameday both had similar experiences, with Gaither saying on Twitter that it was a VU coach that tried to pry away his phone.
On an HBCU Gameday podcast, Gaither elaborated, saying that while he hadn’t connected with Coach James yet, James had reached out. On the podcast, Gaither said he hoped for some kind of public reprimand to help ensure reporters’ safety and that these incidents don’t happen again.
“We’re giving these guys press, and then for this type of thing to happen, it’s just very disconcerting,” he said. “How are you going to be able to appeal to people to come cover your games if they think their equipment might be taken?”