Monday, October 16, 2006

FOOTBRAWL: BREAKING DOWN THE FALLOUT

A wrap-up of some further bits on the Miami-FIU brawl and the fallout. Starting with tougher punishment of a secondary player from Miami:

Sophomore safety Anthony Reddick was suspended indefinitely following further consultation Monday with the Atlantic Coast Conference, the school said.
Reddick charged across the field, helmet raised over his head, and slammed it into an opposing player during the melee.
Meanwhile, the Golden Panthers took a much harsher stance -- dismissing two players, Chris Smith and Marshall McDuffie Jr., and extending the suspensions of all other 16 sanctioned players indefinitely. ...
One-game suspensions for Reddick and 12 Miami teammates were announced Sunday. Other disciplinary measures for the players may include community service and other unspecified actions, the school said in a statement. ...

First of all, any player who participated in stomping or hitting another player with a helmet should be gone. Gone. Permanently. No suspension, no "indefinite," nothing but gone from college football. At all levels. Their career in the college game should be over.

The ACC and Miami (4-2) suspended Reddick, Carlos Armour, Chris Barney, James Bryant, Tyrone Byrd, DajLeon Farr, Ryan Hill, Bruce Johnson, Charlie Jones, Brandon Meriweather, Brian Monroe, Derrick Morse and Randy Phillips.
All will miss Saturday's game at winless Duke.
"These suspensions send a clear and definitive message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated," Swofford said.

Normally, you would say, "Big deal, they're missing the game against Duke." But this year, that could actually hurt Miami. Imagine: The U beat by Duke. That would be poetic justice.

In addition to McDuffie and Chris Smith, the Sun Belt Conference and FIU (0-7) suspended Michael Alls, Scott Bryant, Roland Clark, Michael Dominquez, John Ellis, Cory Fleming, Reginald Jones, Robert Mitchell, Quintin Newman, Luis Pena, Jarvis Penerton, Julian Reams, Lionell Singleton, Samuel Smith, Mannie Wellington and Chandler Williams.
They'll miss FIU's next game Oct. 28 at Alabama. ...

Which has now gone from "horrific slaughter" to "unspeakable apocalypse." Actually, given how Bama has played this year, it might have gone from "toss-up" to "leaning Crimson Tide."

The NCAA, in a statement released Monday, called the fight "wholly unacceptable."
"It is hoped that the actions taken by Miami, FIU and the conferences will send a message that such behavior is not tolerated," the NCAA statement said.

And here we have college football in a nutshell. The ACC, the Sun Belt and the two schools suspend and dismiss players. The NCAA ... issues a statement.

Several players from both sides appeared to throw punches. Meriweather was seen attempting to stomp on FIU players, while an injured Golden Panther swung a crutch menacingly at several Miami players.

I'm sorry; I find this amusing. It almost sounds like something out of a nursing home fight: "Come here, you whipper-snapper, and let me show you what for!" Meanwhile, Meriweather -- you are one of the ones I'm talking about being gone.

It's the latest in a disturbing series of incidents for Miami in recent months.
• Several Miami players fought with LSU players following the Tigers' 40-3 Peach Bowl win.
• Shortly before the Miami-Louisville game Sept. 16, virtually the entire Hurricanes' roster jumped on the Cardinals logo at midfield, an act widely viewed as a taunting gesture. Afterward, some Miami players chided teammates for that incident.
• A Miami player, Willie Cooper, was shot outside his home shortly before training camp began in what players contend was a robbery attempt. Meriweather returned fire; police said he acted legally.
• Wide receiver Ryan Moore, who was suspended for the Peach Bowl for violating team rules, then suspended again for other infractions, is expected to be charged this week with misdemeanors stemming from an August fight with a woman. He hasn't played this season.
And now, perhaps, comes the worst blow.
Still, Miami coach Larry Coker -- who has been under fire all season and whose job security seems to be a constant source of speculation -- bristled when asked if he has control of his team.
"I do have a grip on this program," Coker said. "Don't ever doubt that. Don't ever doubt that."

Um, Larry, when one of your players gets shot and another returns fire, you've got control problems. When a player is packing heat, the line has officially been crossed. And, control or not, there's no doubt you'll be gone at the end of the season.

Maybe the honorable thing to do would be to resign now.

Or maybe it's not honorable. Maybe it's all that's left.

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