Saturday is turning to Sunday, and I left the media room at Auburn Arena not long ago where the big discussion was whether Marshall Henderson made an unsportsmanlike gesture toward the Auburn students at the end of the game.
No one could confirm that.
To be honest, this is an adventure with Henderson each game, particularly on the road.
It will take a second person whose assignment is only to watch Henderson to accurately report on how Henderson interacts with opposing fans after games.
On this particular night I was working my way down from the second level media seating to get back to the locker room where we met with Andy Kennedy, LaDarius White and Henderson.
Watching Henderson this season it has seemed to me – most of the time – that his personality has been channeled to himself, his teammates, his fans.
We’ve known from the beginning that Henderson would be a magnet for the opposing fans’ taunts when he was on the road.
His success and the Rebels’ success will only fuel opposing fans.
Given Henderson’s personality, his stated enjoyment of trash talking, you can expect him to engage fans who engage him throughout a game.
You can debate whether that’s good or bad, whether Henderson has crossed a line.
The “line” is the gray part here. That’s a different definition for different people. In this case, the only definition that matters is Andy Kennedy’s.
If Kennedy felt a line was crossed tonight, it won’t be noted with public comments or a news release but perhaps with the subtleties of how Henderson engages fans moving forward.
Kennedy has acted before when his behavior line has been crossed, Dundrecous Nelson and Jelan Kendrick were examples just last year.
Henderson is not a cookie cutter type of college athlete. He says what he’s thinking. That’s why the media room at Ole Miss after the Tennessee game was stunned and broke out in smirks when he said last Thursday that Ole Miss would beat the Vols 10 out of 10 times. It’s not that you think it couldn’t happen. It’s that no one says it quite like that.
Henderson’s antics will usually be less a story line at home, because most of the fans are cheering for him not against him.
I get the feeling that he’s a good teammate. His comments about his teammates are supportive and encouraging.
The problem with his personality right now is that you have to follow up on accusations like that, and they’re taking away from the news about a team that made history by starting 6-0 in the SEC for the first time.
It’s a team that has found ways to win even when not playing its best. Tonight it was a team that found a new go-to guy – LaDarius White – when Auburn gave him room to move while focusing on Henderson, Murphy Holloway and Jarvis Summers.
It’s a team to which Marshall Henderson has made an incredible impact. This team needs Henderson.
You just wonder if he can properly channel his personality for six more SEC road games.