Junior outfielder Brent Brownlee will be suspended by his coach for flipping off hecklers following Mississippi State’s 5-3 victory at Arkansas this afternoon.
After catching a Bo Bigham fly ball in left field to end the game, Brownlee gave fans behind the fence the bird, and it was caught by television cameras.
“No amount of verbal abuse or threats of physical violence from fans justifies Brent’s actions,” MSU coach John Cohen said in a statement. “Brent is a model student-athlete and made a poor decision with a knee-jerk type of reaction. This type of action by our athletes is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Cohen announced the impending suspension via Twitter and confirmed it to me via text message. As for the length of Brownlee’s suspension, Cohen told me that he is “still gathering info” and will make a determination “later this evening.” A team spokesman said it won’t be announced until Monday.
In a statement, Brownlee said, “I apologize for my actions after the game Sunday. I let my emotions get the most of me in the heat of the moment. Those actions in no way represent me, my team and my university, and I regret letting so many people down.”
Brownlee just recently returned to action after sitting out several games with a stress fracture in his foot. He’s hitting .267 on the season. He started in left field Sunday and was 1 for 4 with an RBI.
The win prevented No. 25 Arkansas (26-9, 8-7 SEC) from completing a weekend sweep of the Bulldogs (22-14, 6-9).