Four Boise State football players were able to interact with a beluga whale Monday at SeaWorld. The participants were junior offensive lineman Mario Yakoo, sophomore quarterback Tommy Stuart, senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes and sophomore wide receiver David McKinzie.
The whale rose to meet the players’ hand and came in to peck them on the cheek. It also waved goodbye when the session was over.
Yakoo, in particular, seemed to bond with the whale.
“I think it’s because I’m so big, it felt comfortable with me,” said Yakoo, who is 6-foot-4, 329 pounds. “... It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Those things are cool, the way they can train them.”
Stuart was chosen as part of the group because he’s an animal buff.
“You’d never see one of those in real life,” he said.
Said McKinzie: “When they said ‘whale,’ I was like, ‘How big is this thing? Am I going to get bit?’ It was fun. ... The whale was gentle.”