During his appearance on this morning’s Kentucky Sports Radio, Lynn Bowden gave us the real story behind the pregame scuffle at the Belk Bowl. After the game, Bowden apologized for throwing a punch at a Virginia Tech player in warmups, but after hearing his side, tensions were so high that week that an incident may have been inevitable.
The bad blood first popped up on our radar when a Virginia Tech player posted a video of some trash talk between the two teams at an event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday. Bowden said it started way before that.
“It was just a whole buildup. Ever since we got there, those guys were chirping at us,” he said. “We would go out, ride on the Lime scooters, the Bird scooters, and they would see us and they would say something to us. Me — everybody, they’re going to talk, you know — I’m letting it go.”
On the Instagram video from the race track, you can see Bowden and a group of four or five other Kentucky players walking. According to Bowden, what you can’t see is the entire Virginia Tech team behind the camera, making it 175 to five.
“So, we get to the NASCAR [track], and it’s me, AJ [Rose], Josh [Ali], [Kavosiey] Smoke, and Isaiah Epps. Us five or six, we’re walking. We’re staggered. Our whole team is already up there but we’re lagging behind. It’s their whole team so it’s 175 of them and six of us. And they run up with their phones and start calling out our names and stuff. You know, me, I’m like, man, it’s been going on too long. Y’all gotta chill out.”
On the morning of the game, Bowden’s girlfriend’s car was broken into at Bank of America Stadium and all of their belongings were stolen. Bowden didn’t implicate Virginia Tech players or fans, but found it odd that only Kentucky cars were targeted, especially since his brother’s car, which is nicer than his girlfriend’s but doesn’t have a Kentucky plate or UK stickers, was parked right beside hers and was untouched.
“I kind of blame myself because I let my emotions carry over to the field, but I got a call that morning of the game. My girl is crying, she’s telling me that somebody broke into her car and took all of our clothes, because we had packed for me to go train after the game, so they took her clothes, took my clothes that I packed, and took all my son’s clothes…We were going to a team meeting and I got called, my whole mood just changed.”
He tried to shake it off once on the field for warmups, but that’s when tensions reached a breaking point.
“I’m upset, so I take my lap like I normally do. They’re chirping at me. So, you know, I’m already mad and they get to calling me. I’m like alright, okay. So, we all get into it. Dude’s just in my face, I’m like, man, I can’t take it no more.”
Bowden regrets the punch, but doesn’t regret how his team played that day.
“It got us motivated. Definitely. I could have hurt my team, so I had to apologize to them in the locker room. They told me, don’t apologize to them…They’re my brothers. They have my back and I have their back.”
On a side note, Bowden said he’s still waiting to hear from Belk, who offered to replace the items from his shopping spree that were stolen. Fortunately, he’ll be able to afford a lot of very nice new clothes very soon.