What’s up?: Hall of Fame linebacker Solomon Elimimian recalls iconic halftime interview with TSN’s Jermaine Franklin

Screengrab courtesy: TSN

Solomon Elimimian is headed to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but the dominant CFL linebacker may be best remembered for one iconic halftime interview in 2014.

Joining 980 CJME’s The Green Zone this week to discuss his legendary career, Elimimian admitted that he still remembers the name of the player on the receiving end of the viral tirade, despite memorably insisting at the time that he didn’t know who he was.

“Fred Bennett,” he chuckled. “Shawn Lemon reminds me all the time that it was Fred Bennett.”

The now-infamous clip stems from a Week 14 game between the B.C. Lions and Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium. The Lions held a slim 7-3 lead at the break thanks to a John Beck touchdown plunge and TSN sideline reporter Jermaine Franklin was tasked with gathering insight from the team’s defensive captain as he headed to the locker room.

What happened next is etched in the minds of every CFL fan, as Bennett, the Stampeders’ cornerback, decided to issue an inaudible parting salvo to his opponent just as the television feed cut to Elimimian.

“I guess the great part about that video is it was so organic. I didn’t know the cameras were rolling,” the linebacker recalled. “I had an interview with Jermaine Franklin, Fred comes up to me and he says something crazy right when I’m doing interviews. I’m like, ‘Come on, dude. Really?’ Like you’re really gonna trash talk in front of my interviewer.”

What Bennett said has never been recorded, but Elimimian’s response will live on as one of the greatest clips in broadcast sports history. Stepping forward intimidatingly and gesticulating wildly, he delivered a pointed rant to the defensive back standing off-camera — all while a wide-eyed Franklin looked on stunned.

“Who are you? What’d you say?” Elimimian said, growing increasingly agitated. “Hey, get some, get some, get some. Keep running hitches on your side. Just tackle, just tackle. We don’t know who you are. Keep walking. Bye! Keep walking. We don’t know who you are.”

While the rant was one for the ages, the interaction culminated perfectly when Elimimian calmed himself in a split second. Turning to the stunned reporter next to him, he delivered a head nod and two words that have kept fans in stitches for nearly a decade: “What’s up?”

Though most verbal battles between opponents aren’t fit for broadcast, the six-time all-star’s rant was placed on a special pedestal thanks to its family-friendly nature.

“Travis Lulay reminds me all the time, the best part about it is I didn’t cuss. It was great for all ages,” Elimimian said. “That’s part of the game; talk trash to your opponent, play physical and you have fun. It’s all in good fun.”

The Lions would go on to lose the game 14-7, with Elimimian collecting 10 tackles to Bennett’s one and adding a fumble recovery. He would go on to set a new single-season tackle record that season and become the first defensive player to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award.

Bennett, a former fourth-round NFL draft pick, ultimately played 82 games over six seasons in the CFL, amassing 188 tackles and 11 interceptions. He was last in the news in 2020 when he plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of health care fraud.

In many ways, the viral interaction proved prophetic, as Elimimian will go down as one of the greatest players in CFL history and continues to make an impact as CFLPA president. Meanwhile, most still don’t know who Bennett is long after people stopped running hitches on his side.