Clemson vs USC 2016 Tiger mascot (copy)

The Tiger offers nutritional advice to Clemson fans Saturday night at Death Valley. Gwinn Davis/Special to The Post and Courier

Did he or didn't he?

And who is "he," anyway?

South Carolina linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams, in the wake of Clemson's 56-7 romp over the Gamecocks on Saturday night at Death Valley, said a Tiger offensive lineman used a racial slur about 80 minutes before kickoff, sparking a short-lived scrap between some players from both teams.

But Allen-Williams said he didn't know which offensive lineman used that slur. He didn't even specify whether the offending offensive lineman was white or black.

When somebody utters a racial slur in 21st century America, whether that person is white or black is a distinction with a significant difference.

A few other Gamecock players later decried "racism" at the game via Twitter. Yet USC wide receiver Terry Googer, also in tweet form, clarified Sunday that he heard the racial slur from Clemson spectators, not necessarily a Clemson player.

There's no conclusive replay video — or audio — for an official review to confirm or refute this allegation of extremely unsportsmanlike verbal conduct.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday that after "I asked my guys about that charge, their responses were that it was absolutely false ... and I believe my guys."

So believe what you want. Still, unless you were there to see and hear, you can't really know who said what to whom and when.

Judging from my longtime experiences at Death Valley and Williams-Brice Stadium, though, this Clemson fan knows those special places are not always safe spaces from ugly words.

For instance, while this message on a sign seen by me outside a Clemson dorm a couple of hours before a big game on Oct. 1 didn't convey ethnic bigotry, it is unprintable in this family newspaper: "(Expletive deleted) Louisville."

Just don't assume that the modern plague of sore losers, sore winners, soreheads and vile language (including racial slurs) is confined to any particular school, sport or state.

Do, however, try being a good sport regardless of winning or losing — or of being down or up 35-0 at halftime.

So if you're a Gamecock fan, congratulate Tiger fans — after all, some of them are your pals and maybe even family members — on their team's lopsided victory Saturday night.

If you're a Clemson fan, congratulate USC folks on their team doubling its regular-season victory total from last year to qualify for a bowl game.

And hey, the Gamecocks did do something Saturday night that S.C. State and Syracuse didn't do against Clemson earlier this season:

They scored.

Don't go away mad ...

1) Name the initially gracious loser who said on Nov. 9: "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don't just respect that. We cherish it."

2) Name the initially gracious winner who tweeted on Sunday: "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

3) Name the politician who tweeted after his favorite team won again last week: "Make that 10-1."

... just go away

1) Hillary Clinton said that in an admirable, unifying concession speech. Now she's divisively calling for recounts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. But even if she overcomes deficits of roughly 22,000 votes in Wisconsin and 10,000 in Michigan, she would still lose on the Electoral College scoreboard (the one that decides who's president) unless she also wins Pennsylvania, where she trails by about 70,000.

2) Donald Trump, initially magnanimous about the triumph he gained three weeks ago today, tweeted that asinine, preposterous contention on Sunday. 

3) Former Stall Warrior running back Tim Scott, South Carolina's junior U.S. senator, tweeted that last Thursday in celebration of the Dallas Cowboys' 31-26 Thanksgiving victory over Washington, displaying his well-placed allegiance to "America's Team."

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is

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