As I ponder what has taken place on football fields in Baton Rouge and beyond the past eight to nine days only one thought crosses my mind.
Hello … have some people associated with football on just about every level lost their collective minds?
There are plenty of things in life worth fighting for. Love, human rights and world peace should all be on that list.
A football game and/or any bragging rights associated with one should NEVER be on that list. Under any circumstances, regardless of who pushed somebody else, kicked them, cursed them or taunted them.
Sure, I know the majority of teams and coaches out there have not been involved in altercations. But when you have a sudden rash of incidents like the ones that started on Oct. 14, everyone notices.
The black eye a player gets in a scuffle is nothing compared to the black eye the sport could potentially receive.
Some coaches dismiss incidents like this, calling them a byproduct of the aggressive nature of football.
However, in this case, the term “rash” is not just a vague, descriptive term. What has happened should be enough to get under the skin of anyone who loves and respects football on all levels.
Aggressiveness and hard-nosed play are things we all love about football. But when that aggressiveness boils over into frustration and anger, the game we love takes on negative connotations.
Let’s start with these examples:
Two local teams, Parkview Baptist and Baker, face a Tuesday sportsmanship hearing at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association office because of an altercation that forced officials to call the game in the third quarter.
The LHSAA will then travel to Monroe for a Thursday hearing with two other schools, Bastrop and Carroll. Their game was also stopped on Oct. 14 in the third quarter because of a brawl.
A day later, there was the ugly scene in Pine Bluff, Ark., after Arkansas-Pine Bluff beat Southern. The Southwestern Athletic Conference has already chosen to suspend a total of 41 players from the teams for one to two games.
Next came the NFL confrontation between two head coaches, San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh and Detroit’s Jim Schwartz, after an overzealous postgame handshake.
Just when I thought surely enough was enough, a fight broke out in Thursday’s televised college game between Arizona and UCLA.
Now reports are circulating about a postgame confrontation between two other local teams after players from one school chose to jump on the field logo of the other team.
Remember, this is football, not some new hybrid of ultimate fighting that allows participants to wear helmets and shoulder pads.
Football has been described as controlled violence. What we’ve seen illustrates what happens when violence and aggressiveness are out of control.
Parkview and Baker are using their situation as a teaching tool. Others should do the same and as soon as possible.
Perhaps the worst thing about these fighting incidents is the poor example they set for up-and-coming youth football players. Now is the time for coaches and parents — yes, I said parents — to make a stand.
Impose rules against fighting and taunting and dish out punishment when the rules are violated.
Suspend players, make them run stadium steps and do push-ups and take away starting positions.
Do whatever it takes to let players know fighting, taunting and any other unsportsmanlike act won’t be tolerated.
I know we all love watching the big hits during a football game. It’s the job of coaches, players and parents to make sure football’s reputation doesn’t take too many hits.