The Fight Fallout: an Opinion Special

Football program should be abolished

It is time to clean house and get rid of that thug football program. I am embarrassed to have ever been a part of the University of Miami. I am an avid lover of college football and it is clear to me that the Division I programs are incapable of cleansing themselves of steroid raging thugs.

Miami should deemphasize football and become a Division III program. The thugs would no longer be attracted to the campus and the university could return to its quest for academic excellence. The most recent debacle with FIU served to re-emphasize in America’s minds that Miami is a place, not for academic excellence, but for steroid-raging thugs dressed up like football players.

The entire football program must be radically changed. We all can see that there has been a culture of thuggish behavior and poor sportsmanship embedded in the Miami football program for many years. The football program’s twisted pleasure in creating this bad boy image has severely damaged the value of a degree from Miami. I know that my organization no longer recruits at Miami, and I am sure that many other companies and government agencies see Miami as a place where drugs are rampant and administrators turn a blind eye to low behavior.

Football should be a source of fun and a way of representing the university in a positive manner around the region. A Division III program would be far less costly and it would place sports into the proper context in relation to the rest of the overall university mission. A positive first step would be to terminate the football coaching staff, withdraw football player scholarships and get a clean start with a program that focused on scholar athletes instead of steroid raging punks.

Clairese Lippincott // Richmond, Va.

Sports media is blowing this out of proportion

The “brawl” is the most overrated news story this year. Let’s drop the bullcrap, please. If we are legitimately concerned about the youth of America being persuaded by this brawl to act violently, why do we show them so many beer commercials during college games? Don’t those persuade them to drink? And if we are so concerned about sending the message that we must all remain safe, why then are we playing football at all on the college level? It isn’t about safety.

Let’s face it: these were grown men hitting each other in full pads. Nobody ever gets hurt in this type of football fight. However, on every play, these same huge, fast athletes violently run right at each other. When a player goes down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it’s just a hotdog break, and we wonder who the replacement is. The concern is never over the player, but whether the team can replace him (such as with Adrian Peterson). A defensive back gets cheered when he “takes out” a receiver trying to catch a ball over the middle, even though that receiver could paralyzed or killed from such a hit (Mr. Darryl Stingley).

Football is a barbaric, violent game. Those who play it have to induce themselves into an animal-like trance. The fact that the media pretends it is stunned over the “brawl” is a joke. Yes, it looked bad, but the essence of what goes on during every play on the field is far more dangerous than men fighting in full pads. Did somebody blow an ACL, or break a neck? Nope, it just looked bad. We care more about appearance than substance. We strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Fights like this happen all the time. People just hate Miami, so the media blew it up. My team (Brigham Young University) plays in the Mountain West Conference. Nobody cares about that conference, so you never hear about the fights or vicious play in it.

Greg Smith // West Jordan, Utah

Give our football players a chance

What happened Oct. 14 in the Orange Bowl has cast a black eye on our University. As a community, it is essential that we not succumb to outside pressures and stand tall in support of our school and its student athletes. What happened was without question inexcusable, but it must be kept in perspective.

The players fighting on the field are 18 to 21 years old. Eighteen to 21 year-olds make rash decisions, they do stupid things, and that phenomenon does not cease to exist when you become a football star. There was chaos going on around them, and they reacted with adrenaline flowing through their veins. Their reaction was inappropriate, but what they did was minor – there was no one selling drugs on that field, there was no one committing rape, and there was no one firing a gun.

It is vitally important that we keep this event in perspective when calling for varying levels of repercussions. These young men made a mistake, but they are good people. They are not thugs and they all have a bright future ahead of them. We cannot take that future away from them, and we cannot devastate the life of a young man who made a single mistake simply because the media and public are crying for us to do so.

President Shalala has said that she will not throw these young men under the bus. As an alumnus I could not be more proud of our leader for standing tall against the pressures to do exactly that, throw them under the bus. We must weather this storm together, we must stand by our own, and we will come out with our integrity intact.

Don Donelson // UM Class of ’05

Player punishments hypocritical

I too was dismayed – but not surprised – by the behavior of UM football players at the recent game with FIU. The teams’ “mel