April 12, 2007

Football Follies

It was a short honeymoon for Tim Brester as a little negative publicity surrounds the Gopher athletic program once again. I don't believe for a moment that the Gopher athletes and coaches are worse citizens than just about every other program in the country, but it seems that we stay in the headlines more often than not.

I realize that am a bit late on this "breaking" story, but that was kind of intentional. Stories of indiscretion and poor decisions make me cringe because what really occured is irrelevant and this will be swept under the rug. Why? Because they play football.

I try to separate off the field actions from on the field. Tying the 2 together is unfair and irresponsible in my opinion. We celebrate these young men based on their athletic ability and contribution, we treat them as though they are more important to society than normal citizens and we are surprised when they think they can get away with their actions.

Off the field we should expect them to act with as much responsibility as we expect of any citizen. If they choose to do otherwise they should be held to the same standard as anybody else. Their status as an athlete should hold no bearing on how we feel about them and should not affect their judicial judgement. Cheer them on as athletes nothing more, nothing less.

Now on to the actual story. In a nutshell 3 members of the football team were arrested for allegedly assaulting an 18-yr old female student. Eventually the players were released but it is an ongoing investigation.

Coach Brewster is saying all the right things (which he is getting good at). He is willing to fully cooperate with the investigation and he fully supports his players.

Are they innocent? Who knows. I would be equally "un-shocked" to hear that they were guilty as I would be to hear they did nothing. In the past I think presumed guilt would be the strong sentiment but the recent exoneration of the Duke la cross team make this closer to a coin flip.

From the perspective of a fan I don't care what the result is. If they are guilty they should be expelled and face their just punishment. If they are innocent I hope this does not stick with them. This should not be covered up or ignored but it also really should be allowed to play itself out and hopefully the actual truth will come out and justice will be served. This is an opportunity for Coach Brewster to make a statement to the rest of his team, will he do it? We'll find out.

No comments: