Last week, a few videos circulated online showing former star Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson leaving a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Three months earlier, Watson and the Tigers triumphed past the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff national title game. Watson, it looked like, wasn’t exactly being welcomed with open arms by Bama fans at an establishment that’s about a mile from Bryant-Denny Stadium. He was apparently asked to leave by, among others, former Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson.
Anderson says that’s not quite how it went down, and told his version of the events to Al.com on Wednesday:
“It was blown out of proportion. I didn’t ask him to leave,” Anderson said. ‘I simply made a suggestion. I told him it wasn’t smart for him to be there and if he had finished eating, he should get up out of there. That’s all it was.”
Anderson said Watson understood the suggestion — “He didn’t take it the wrong way” — and quietly left the popular Tuscaloosa bar. In another video posted of the incident, a female customer is overheard saying the situation was “sad” as fans confronted a seated Watson.
Anderson’s account echoes what the linebacker’s publicist told TMZ — that Anderson suggested Watson leave after other patrons “were getting hostile” — about the ordeal. In one of the videos that emerged from the incident, a woman can be heard apologizing to Watson as he walks out, adding a bit more credence to Anderson’s side of the story.
Anderson said he made sure to reach out to Watson, too, to make sure he understood his intentions.
“I just let him know what I was trying to do. I was trying to help him,” Anderson told Al.com.
The bar, Innisfree Irish Pub, sent out an apology Friday night, saying it played no part in Watson leaving.
“Over the years we have had thousands of visitors from rival schools and have always treated them fairly. Today was not any different. The unfolding of today’s events were not led by our staff or anyone employed by Innisfree Irish Pubs,” the statement said. “Unfortunately a customer attempted to invoke the right to refuse service on our behalf and after being identified, was immediately asked to leave the premises following the incident. We apologize for any inconvenience this incident caused to our customers. We appreciate anyone that chooses to visit our establishment and hope to continue welcoming sports fans for years to come.”
Luckily for Alabama fans, the Tide won’t have to deal with Watson’s talents at the college level anymore. The Heisman runner-up declared for the NFL Draft and is expected to be a first round selection.
Anderson is also headed to the pros and is expected to be a mid-round pick.
More college football from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –