Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Shortly after playing the final game in his Kentucky football career, linebacker Kash Daniel apologized for the most infamous moment of his senior season.
In an appearance on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show, Daniel issued an impromptu apology to Florida quarterback Kyle Trask more than three months after television cameras caught him twisting Trask’s ankle at the bottom of a pile after a tackle.
“I play the game right,” Daniel said before launching into the apology. “… I apologize to Kyle Trask. For real, I apologize to Kyle Trask. I apologize to the University of Florida. I apologize to the University of Florida fan base. That was out of my league. I’m not about that, so I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I allowed the outside noise to affect my play a couple games, and I can’t do that. To see my guys out here celebrating, it’s all worth it.”
Daniel’s comments came during an on-field interview following Kentucky’s 37-30 win over Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.
The incident in question happened in Kentucky’s Sept. 14 loss to Florida.
After the game, Florida fans began to circulate footage shot from an aerial camera during the ESPN broadcast that showed Daniel rip his hand out from the bottom of a pile after Trask’s failed two-point conversion attempt. While Florida fans read intention into the play, the angle lacked conclusive evidence whether Daniel had actually been twisting the quarterback’s ankle.
Asked for his version of events later that week following a UK practice, Daniel vehemently denied any wrongdoing on his part, claiming he was ripping his surgically repaired hand from the bottom of the pile after it was stepped on.
After Daniel’s denial, a closer video angle of the incident shot from the visitor’s sideline was released showing the UK linebacker grasping and pulling on Trask’s leg with both hands. The video was posted by WYMT-TV and later taken down but remains online at sister-station WKYT’s website.
Daniel declined interviews requests for much of the season after the incident, but even after resuming talking to the media later in the year deflected any questions about controversy in his senior season.
Several Florida players tweeted about the video, and Trask seemingly supported the ankle-twisting version events when he told reporters in Gainesville, “At the end of the day it’s football. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
Florida coach Dan Mullen left it up to the SEC to handle.
“When that stuff happens, that’s something for the league office and the commissioner,” Mullen said the Monday following the game. “I’m sure it’s around the media. I’m sure they’ve looked at it. I’m sure it’s something they would address.”
Daniel finished his UK career with a team-high eight tackles in the come-from-behind Belk Bowl win.
“It’s the only way I wanted to go out,” Daniel said after the game. “…We didn’t have anything like this, have a tradition like this when we got here. Now, to leave the program where it was when we first got here to know taking the pads off for the last time, we worked our ass off. … I owe my life to this place.”