TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Tennessee defensive back Rashaan Gaulden apologized after he flipped off the Alabama student section with both hands following the Volunteers' 97-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter of Saturday's 45-7 loss to the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide.
"There was just a lot of frustration that led up to that," Gaulden told reporters. "I just know that that's not how my parents raised me. They raised me to be grounded, humble.
"I just feel really bad for disrespecting them and the University of Tennessee and Alabama, as well, for doing that."
Tennessee coach Butch Jones called the gesture "unacceptable" and said the team will deal with it "internally."
"We spoke about it," Jones said. "He feels awful about it, and it's one of those things of overall just being a mature football team."
The pick-six, which came with Tennessee down by three scores, was the Vols' first touchdown in 12 quarters of play. Gaulden was ultimately flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Tennessee incurred a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff.
Alabama took advantage of the short field and made a field goal to extend its lead to 24 points.
Gaulden, a fourth-year junior from Spring Hill, Tennessee, entered Saturday fourth on the team with 40 tackles.
With the loss, Tennessee fell to 3-4 overall and 0-4 in SEC play.
The Vols visit SEC East rival Kentucky next Saturday.