High school football fans in Texas were sent into a lather after a coach appeared to pass money to a game official at the end of a heated Friday night game. Now that coach is defending himself by throwing another sport under the bus: Poker.
OK, so Calhoun Lavaca head football coach Richard Whitaker isn’t throwing the sport of poker under the bus as much as he is saying it contributed to a major headache he doesn’t need, or perhaps even deserve. According to our friends at The Big Lead, Whitaker has explicitly denied that he passed any money to a game official at any time, instead insisting he was handing over a plastic poker chip following Calhoun Lavaca’s Thursday night game against B.F. Terry. Apparently the chips had been left on the field as markers by the marching band from Calhoun or its Thursday night opponent.
With that back context, here’s some of what Whitaker told The Big Lead when reached for comment:
“Prior to the game, Terry football coach Tim Tekyl — he and I have been friends for many years, since the mid-90’s — he reaches down and picks up one of those chips, hands it to me, and says, ‘Put this in your pocket. It will bring you good luck tonight.’ This was all in good humor.”
“And so, after the game, again all in good humor, I reached out and handed the poker chip to the official,” Whitaker continued. “What you don’t see on the video is when he passes by, he sees it’s a cheap poker chip. He starts laughing, I start laughing, we point at each other, and I walked off. …”
You can read more about the incident you see above at The Big Lead right here.
One has to trust that Whitaker is telling the truth to buy the insistence that he never cheated or paid an official. Of course, there’s no reason not to believe him, and the band marker story is oddly specific enough while also being plausible that it does bring a certain amount of believability to his case.
Will it stand up? Only time — and perhaps confirmation from Tekyl — will tell.