Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are We Gonna Brawl or Are We Gonna Ball?

Cincy vs. Xavier.

If you follow sports at all, you either a) saw this first hand b) saw some sort of replay or c) at least heard about the fight that went down between these two schools on Saturday.

And if you didn't, please take a moment and catch up, mmmkay?

Now, I don't know if these kids are jealous that college football has been hogging the headlines with scandal upon scandal, if someone wanted to recreate the Brawl at the Palace, or if someone thought that Ndamukong Suh was all sorts of awesome in his stomping tirade vs. the Detroit Lions, but whatever the reason, this was ridonkulous.

Ridonkulous to the point of embarrassing, in fact. These, for the most part, are grown adults. And, unfortunately for them, they didn't decide to play hockey as a sport.

Ergo, the brawl shouldn't have happened.

That being said, things DO happen. Tempers careen out of control. Testosterone is high. What matters is how the situation is handled. How the coaches, university officials, and the players themselves respond.

On Sunday, both schools suspended four players each for their roles in the altercation, including seniors Yancy Gates (Cincy) and Tu Holloway (Xavier). Both Gates and Holloway are major role players for their respective squads.

In an ESPN presser on Sunday, Bearcat head coach Mick Cronin echoed the verdict with this sentiment :

"Before any of them put a uniform back on they will apologize and that's just the first step before putting the uniform back on. Just because the press release says what it says that doesn't mean they're all back. They're going to sit in front of a camera and say how sorry they are and how grateful they are for getting a second chance.

"If I don't believe it then they won't be on the team -- and if they don't demonstrate that they won't ever put on a jersey again -- period. They're going to sit in front of a camera and say it. I can tell the difference as to how genuine they are. The university issued the suspensions and I supported it. But for me it's different. I have the autonomy to not let anybody back on the team."

Of course, many pundits believe that this soliloquy, while admirable, may just be lip service. When job security is often based on wins and losses, making the conscious decision to dismiss star players is a tough one.

Personally, I can't stand Mick Cronin. I think he comes across as an angry, little man suffering from a Napoleonic complex and a chip on his shoulder. However, I tend to believe the sincerity behind his sentiments.

I hate you...but it's for your own good.

Yes, what happened Saturday is a blight on the Cincinnati and Xavier programs. But if Cronin, and his counterpart Chris Mack, can use this incident as a teaching/learning experience, then maybe, just maybe, there's a win in it after all.

Image provided by blog.syracuse.


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