Last Sunday, suspensions were handed down to the players involved in the Cincinnati-Xavier on-court brawl that ended the game early. The most egregious act came from Cincinnati’s best player, senior Yancy Gates, who sucker-punched an opposing player a la LeGarrette Blount.
Blount, if you remember, was also a senior in 2009 and sucker-punched an opposing player immediately after a season-opening loss
to Boise State in 2009. His punishment? Suspended for 10 games. Blount went undrafted in the following year’s NFL draft but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he became the team’s primary back in Week 7.
With that precedent, I would’ve liked to see Gates suspended for the rest of the season (at least 23 games) but would’ve found 20 games reasonable, roughly the same number of weeks Blount missed before returning right before the season ends and the playoffs. His punishment? Suspended for six games, along with two teammates.
That is an absolute travesty, considering how unlike with Blount’s
victim, Kenny Frease did not provoke Gates before the hammer punch, and he was immensely bloodied. What also isn’t mentioned is how Gates punched a second Xavier player in the face but received the same suspension that two others got, including one who stomped Frease on the ground, and just two more games than two Xavier players got, all while Gates is the only player to throw punches.
It sure is nice to be coddled with superstar treatment. To mitigate the
backlash of the short suspension, Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin offered tough words, saying that no player would automatically be allowed back on the team after serving their suspension; rather, Cronin would have to be fully convinced that the players were remorseful. What a load of bull. That’s about as unbelievable as saying Kate Gosselin didn’t have any plastic surgery done on her face. The players will be back asap, and if not, for a very short time that won’t make up for what the true suspension should be.
In the first game since the brawl, Cincinnati handled Wright State by 20; then-No. 9 and 8-0 Xavier lost to Oral Roberts by 22 at home. Got to love how karmic justice works sometimes.
Tuesday, James Harrisonwas suspended one game for his vicious
helmet-to-helmet hit on defenseless QB Colt McCoy that left him with a concussion. Yes, it was the first suspension arising from a play on the field, but in comparison to Ndamukong Suh‘s two-game suspension for stomping and Harrison’s rap sheet, again, we have a suspension that falls far short of the crime.
One fan made a comment that rings so true. He said that the worst Suh could’ve done with his stomping is bruise the fallen player’s arm; Harrison could’ve, and likely did, give someone long-term brain damage. The linebacker has recorded his fifth flagrant hit on a quarterback, making him and Suh among the league’s dirtiest players.
The unsurprising response from Harrison: it shouldn’t even have been flagged, he appealed the one-game suspension, which he lost and he’s not going to change the way he plays. I fully expect Commissioner Goodell to push the envelope the next time Harrison goes dome-first on a defenseless player. And there will be a next time.