College sports stars Caleb Williams and Jared McCain don’t play the same sport. Williams is USC’s star quarterback, already a Heisman Trophy winner, practically guaranteed to be the #1 pick in the next NFL draft. McCain is the freshman Duke guard with 2 million TikTok followers, generating $1.2M in NIL deals (second only to USC’s Bronny James). But the two athletes have one thing in common – they enjoy painting their nails, often in their school colors.
And some folks don’t like it.
Last Saturday, after an uncharacteristic loss to Notre Dame, a troll went after Williams to scream in his face about the nails.
But when asked about it, Williams basically shrugged it off.
“I mean, everybody wants to be in these two [size] 12.5 shoes right here,” Williams told media after the game. “I’m not worried about some kid running out on the field that doesn’t have anything really associated to Notre Dame other than possibly their family going there or him going there himself. Got a lot of guys over here that I’ve got to lead, so some opinion of a sheep, lions don’t worry about that stuff. Keep moving on, keep fighting. Fight on.”
McCain has received similar trolling for his painted nails.
“I mean, at an early age I’ve always been told to just be myself, like I’m always just gonna be myself and as for the painted nails, I saw it during quarantine and I just started doing it,” he told Complex. “I never saw anything wrong with it, like, I understand girls do it. I understand men have started to do it a little more recently, but it was just something I saw and I like to get manicures and pedicures. I take care of my body.”
He added, “I’ve always been big on just being yourself in any situation possible. And never letting somebody tell you what, what you can and can’t be. So doing the painted nails is kind of a part of me now. I just kind of do it whether I get to hate or not. The hate is funny because it’s usually grown men most of the time and it’s like you’re a grown man just hating on a kid. It doesn’t affect me at all. I kind of just laugh at it.”
Both athletes are ‘polished’ when it comes to their games and are dealing with high expectations. Williams is in the conversation for a second Heisman and is atop the Pac-12 with a 6-1 record for the Trojans. McCain is Duke’s highest-ranking recruit and is currently third on the depth chart. But with his well-rounded game, he’s expected to work his way off the bench in his first college season before likely declaring for the NBA draft.
With that in mind, expect that in the next few months, more attention will be paid to their games than their nails. Here’s hoping, anyway.
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