What does a student athlete learn from sitting out a game that the team wins? Not much.
Thirteen players were handed suspensions after a bench clearing brawl broke out last Saturday during the game against Florida International.
In exchange for the one game suspension, Miami won against Duke 20-15 and suffered a serious tongue lashing from national media. Nothing more.
Miami shouldn’t fire Head Coach Larry Coker over this. Miami shouldn’t expel every player involved. Miami shouldn’t shut down the program. But, there should be more done than a stiff warning and a one game suspension.
Losing to Duke would’ve been a bitter pill to swallow for a team that has been a powerhouse program for decades. Miami didn’t lose to Duke, so suspended players still have the taste of victory in their mouths and their sights set on Georgia Tech.
If it were the Student Government who was involved in a fight with another university, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the punishment would be more than to sit out the next Senate meeting. Why should athletes be treated any differently?
It’s deplorable that the players behaved the way they did. Sure, they were defending their teammates but it undoubtedly got out of hand when you have players using their helmets as weapons, stomping on others heads and one who ran and punched a guy on crutches.
It’s sad when a football team puts more energy into a fight on the field than actually playing the game of football. If only the offensive line could hit as hard during a game as they did in the fight.
Now instead of rebuilding a two-loss football team, the Miami image has been further dragged through the mud. Even the academics at UM have been scrutinized by media outlets who have revived the “Thug U” image.
It’s not cool or tough and Miami doesn’t have the “swagger” back. That swagger meant that the ‘Canes could back up talk with action, with wins. Shutting out FIU, a relatively new football program, is not means for declaring that this team is the same as the 1991, 2001 and even the 2002 teams who did have the swagger.
Yes, the media has taken this incident and blown it out of proportion. Of course they ignored the fight that broke out between Holy Cross and Dartmouth because it isn’t as easy to call those teams “thugs” or to defame the quality of such universities.
So, Miami has to set an example and prove that not everyone carries a hand gun and is looking for a fight. Students have to stop telling the players the fight was awesome and expect more from their athletes.
The entire focus of this team has to be reevaluated. Instead of defending the “U” the team needs to go out and play the game that made Miami football what it still should be today.
Stacey Arnold may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.