UCLA coach Jim Mora booted up his Twitter handle Monday evening for the first time since August to end a conversation that had the social media world buzzing hours earlier.
“FYI … @RandallG300 is a fake. The real Randall Goforth is preparing for Washington State,” his tweet read.
The Twitter profile ““ which had several thousand followers, including many in the UCLA Athletics community ““ Mora was referring to allegedly belonged to UCLA freshman safety Randall Goforth. The account was started a few weeks ago.
Monday night, the handle began tweeting contentious messages to USC junior receiver Robert Woods, who only escalated the issue by responding and referring Goforth to the 50-0 smackdown the Trojans gave the Bruins last season.
“We will beat you guys on November 17th. Believe the hype,” one of Goforth’s tweets said, while another began with “USC SUCKS!!”
Several Twitter handles owned by legitimate UCLA football players then took to the Twittersphere to set the record straight on Goforth.
“Our guys are focused enough to not let those sorts of things get to us,” said redshirt senior punter Jeff Locke. “We know it wasn’t one of our guys. Our guys aren’t stupid enough to do something like that.”
At Tuesday’s practice, Mora said he has addressed the issue with USC coach Lane Kiffin and called it a “total nonissue.” He also called Goforth’s impostor a coward and suggested the tweeter come to Spaulding Field to answer for what went on.
“I think it’s a frickin’ joke that somebody would do that,” Mora said. “I think you’re the lowest life form if you would portray yourself as an 18-year-old young man who’s out here trying to do his best. … I think he ought to go to jail. That’s how I feel. I think you’re a scumbag.”
Goforth said he has never owned a Twitter profile and was both shocked and humbled to hear the news while in an English tutoring session on Monday. He went on to say he respects Woods and USC’s program.
“When my teammates told me I was tweeting, I said, “˜What’s that?’” Goforth said. “It’s funny to me. I’m moving on to Washington State. That’s where my focus is.”
As a first-year coach who is trying to instill a heightened sense of team discipline, the last thing Mora needs is one of his players mixing it up with one of the crosstown rival’s best players while the Bruins still have to beat the Cougars on the road Saturday before meeting the Trojans.
Redshirt senior linebacker Damien Holmes said the incident didn’t derail the team’s focus.
“To give that guy the satisfaction of addressing it as a team would be ridiculous,” Holmes said. “Everyone knows it’s fake. If you know Randall, you know the type of guy he is. … That’s sad that someone would do that.”