What Day said about Fields is understandable, but in the minds of many, he crossed the line when discussing the college football players who opted out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic.
Here’s what Day said to NBC Sports’ Peter King.
“The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic?” Day told Peter King. “I mean, to me, that’s crazy. He got done with the Clemson game [the loss in the college football playoffs in the 2019 season] and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys are opting out, what’s he do? He petitions to have a season. He put together this petition that the Big Ten athletes all signed saying that they want to play, but they want to play safely and that they don’t accept canceling the season. It was all led by Justin Fields. Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game.
“I heard something about the last one to come in, first one to leave. First off, the scouts weren’t in our building all year. Last one in? Every morning, at least every morning we could be in the building, early, he’s in with [assistant AD for football sports performance] Mickey Marotti. The guys who were self-motivated and could do things on their own, those were the ones who made it. He was unbelievable. He changed his diet, he got stronger. He did better than most.”
The vast majority of that quote is exactly what you want to hear a coach say about his quarterback. However, this line was unnecessary in the minds of many: Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that.
Day can feel that way, but saying that players who opted out due to health or family reasons don’t “love the game” is wrong.
Here’s how the football world is reacting to Day’s comments.
Separate from Fields, this is a pretty gross quote from Ryan Day taking a shot at players who opted out last season. pic.twitter.com/rbrCe3lISC
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) April 5, 2021
Hey Ryan Day, People only have one life to live. Football is all well and good but deciding to sit out for health reasons doesn't mean one doesn't love the game. https://t.co/OPz2jUHOf6
— Chris F. 🌎 citizen 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 focused (@SPTO) April 5, 2021
Ryan Day is a football guy, apparently unlike his unpaid players who weren’t willing to prioritize a game over their well-being in a pandemic. https://t.co/JlFxT6ajZ3
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) April 5, 2021
That's not a good look on Ryan Day. There's one player in this draft that had to opt out because of his daughter's health. Can't blame guys for not wanting to play last year. https://t.co/IQt3dx2Gu3
— Jeff Schmidt – Football Alliance (@Schmidtalking) April 5, 2021
Ryan Day is scheduled to meet with the media on Monday afternoon. It will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes’ head coach further addresses his comments.