Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It’s time to call a truce

September 23, 2009


Hatfields vs. McCoys, Capulets vs. Montagues, Bloods vs. Crips, Democrats vs. Republicans, Kansas University football players vs. KU basketball players.

The credibility of all that happy talk about the Kansas University athletic department being one big, cuddly family has been called into question by football players and basketball players getting into repeated fights with each other.

Bar owners and patrons know it. Students know it. Cops know it. The only reason you haven’t read more about it is because precise details of said skirmishes have been difficult to nail down.

Funny how athletes who can be such men during competition, putting their bodies in harm’s way, giving everything they have for teammates, can turn into such children when trying to prove their machismo off the field.

It’s time for them to call a truce and grow up because the alternative could be blowing up football and basketball seasons that have such exciting promise. The student-athletes who can’t seem to keep their fists off of each other are running the risk of ruining experiences that could be the most enjoyable of their lives.

Tuesday’s fight — not the first pitting basketball players against football players — happened shortly after 6:30 p.m. in front of Burge Union and reportedly involved a dispute over a woman who used to date an athlete from one team and now dates one from another. Instead of letting lovers be lovers, fighters had to prove they’re fighters. How pathetic. Time to grow up and join the real world.

Fights are not altogether uncommon between teammates in professional sports, the most famous tending to be in major-league baseball.

In 1978, Don Sutton and Steve Garvey went at it on the floor of the visiting clubhouse at Shea Stadium, clawing each other. Sutton came out of it with a bruise on his cheek, and Garvey had cuts on his face. They never became pals, but managed to remain teammates.

Twelve years later, Cubs Marvell Wynne and Shawon Dunston rolled around on the ground, exchanging claws and punches outside the home dugout before a game. Dunston suffered a strained shoulder, and Wynne received three stitches on his forehead to close a cut. Both former players are African-American, and the fight started when one said to the other, “You’re not black. You’re too black to be black. You’re purple.” They shook hands and co-existed peacefully from that point forward.

Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was rapped on the knee by a man swinging a tire iron. Classy Tonya Harding insists to this day she had nothing to do with it. Not only that, she makes that claim with a straight face.

One-on-one disputes are bad enough, but when members of the two most prominent teams at a university repeatedly have team members getting into it with each other, that’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed in a serious way.

Suggestion: Athletic director Lew Perkins invites the police chief to join him in paying one visit to the assembled football team, another to the basketball team. Let them all know a no-tolerance policy is in effect, and anybody who has a hand in breaking the truce will get one phone call and be served bread and water.


volunteer 8 years, 9 months ago

A teachable moment for Coaches Mangino and Self. One expects they will respond appropriately. Tom Keegan's suggestion makes sense to me, but we are not the deciders.

DrMoody 8 years, 9 months ago

Bravo, Keegan. Maybe Mangino can sit on said offenders as well. That'd teach em, granted, it might kill them too.

rse1979 8 years, 9 months ago

"Bar owners and patrons know it. Students know it. Cops know it. The only reason you haven’t read more about it is because precise details of said skirmishes have been difficult to nail down."

Or did Lew forget to make the last hush-money payment to the LJW?

Angel Gillaspie 8 years, 9 months ago

Tom, can't you find any examples of fights that are actually similar to what is going on? Baseball is an entirely different sport from either basketball or football; the athletes you talk about are professionals, not college students; the fights you talk about were all one-on-one, not big groups; the last incident described was... figure skating? Seriously? And it wasn't even a fight, it was an assault, and only one of the athletes was there. Being assaulted, not fighting. What a waste of a column, in my opinion. They pay you for this drivel? I think the Athletic Department should just turn it over to the University and let them handle it. What happens to "regular" (meaning non-athlete) students who fight on campus? Expulsion? Works for me. Or even a one or two game suspension. If you can't figure out who was involved, suspend whoever was there. If you can't figure that out either, suspend them all. Take the scholarships away. Let the second- and third-stringers and walk-ons play, I say.

Steve Miller 8 years, 9 months ago

They all just demonstrated how spolied they really are. Give them a real dose of reality, suuspension, then out for good.

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