Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sucker Punch. . . .

The first weekend of college football is over and the big story is about Oregon running back Legarrette Blount and his postgame sucker punch of Boise State's Byron Hout. Not surprisingly, the video has gone viral and is fodder for all kind's of water-cooler chatter among college football fans and non-fans alike.



If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then this video clip speaks volumes about today's culture. Obviously, I wasn't there. I've only been able to watch the video along with the rest of you. Blount's actions are horrific and without excuse. The school did the right thing in suspending him from the football program for the year. Perhaps our collective disgust is fueled by the fact that we know and believe that the anger and lack of sportsmanship shown by Blount is wrong. It's good that we're upset. But when I first watched the video, I was equally saddened by what seemed-to-be Hout's provocation through taunting. While that tuanting in no way shape or form can justify Blount's response, it was equally wrong.

If you spend any amount of time close to the sidelines these days, you can't help but notice that taunting is increasingly common, decreasingly frowned upon or stopped, and perhaps even seen as a normal and acceptable part of sport. That's a shame.

If indeed Hout was tuanting Blount, then there's two examples we can point to if we want to teach our kids lessons on how not to play. Kudo's to Boise State's head coach Chris Peterson for following up with Hout - an admission that Hout crossed the line. The Boise State football website includes this post: Boise State University head football coach Chris Petersen has issued a statement regarding the postgame incident involving Bronco defensive lineman Byron Hout. "The event that took place last night following our game between Byron and Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount was very unfortunate and we do not condone Byron's action," Petersen stated. "There will be disciplinary consequences for Bryon as a result of the incident last night and they will be handled internally." Petersen also stated that Hout's discipline does not include a game suspension.

If we want to prevent this kind of stuff at the college level, it might be a good thing for youth team coaches to sit anybody who talks trash. And if it happens again - at any level - let them sit longer.

What do you think?

4 comments:

Jason from Indiana said...

Over the last few years, I have done my share of online gaming (military style team-based shooting games/sports games) on Xbox & PS3, and it didn't take long for me to learn to mute the voices of all but my friends who happened to be playing at the time.

The ridiculous amount of bile soaked trash-talking, often violent and racist in it's tone, just floored me-and this is coming from a 12 year urban public school teacher/coach (now pastor) who has heard plenty of spicy language over the years and has no problem with a little "jab" every once in awhile between FRIENDS.

Perhaps most horrifying, though, is the taunts coming thorough the headphones from kids whose voices haven't even broken yet-10 and 11 year old kids, some younger. Now, whether or not their parents have any idea this is happening or not is a whole other issue, but the fact remains that kids are learning new and more vile ways to communicate with opponents, and it's not to encourage them, either.

Concepts such as sportsmanship and respect for opposing players is slowly dying and has been replaced with verbal abuse, as we have begun to see in college sports-many of these guys themselves, who perhaps just 5 or 6 years years ago were in "Trash Talk" school while sitting in front of their televisions, screaming profanities at those on the other end of the set while their parents were sitting one room over watching reality TV and who are now wondering what has happened to good old-fashioned respect.

Hopefully, this incident will shine some light on the once common concept of good sportsmanship and coaches and Athletic Directors will step up and let players know that such actions are reprehensible and will not be tolerated, particularly at institutes of "higher learning."

Bobby from Texas said...

We are going through the study "Raising G Rated Kids in an R Rated World" and it touches similar points. As a society, we let media, peer influences and even athletes show our children how to act. It's especially sad that we allow are children to sit in the same room as us to view inappropriate actions. It is very important for parents and other adult role models to discuss these actions and teach why it is wrong and explain other ways to handle these issues.
I commend both schools for getting involved and taking action but I do feel Hout's consequence could be too lenient. But at the same time it is hard for me to judge because I don't know everything that was said to Blount.

Jason V - North Dakota said...

Maybe we could use this incident and relate it to our spiritual lives.

How often have Christians from one church or denomination "trash talked" Christians from another denomination? How many hard feelings or cracks in the foundation of Christianity has this resulted in? How many people have been hurt (physically, emotionally, and in their relationships with God and other Christians) as a result of these kinds of actions?

As spiritual leaders, maybe we should pay attention when we hear such things as Church A criticizing Church B, Baptists blasting Catholics, Methodists ripping on Evangelicals, or whatever other example you can think of. And when we do, we should be like a strong coach, sit our players down, and help them see the errors of doing this. Especially since, when we talk trash about other Christian churches or denominations, we're not talking trash about another team.... we're doing it to players on our own team. That being Christ's team.

saldivision said...

You say kudos to Petersen for his disciplinary actions but what were they? His player should have had to sit out some game time but suspensions like that won't happen.